Pets falling ill, dying from jerky treats imported from China
Nearly 600 dogs in the U.S. have died after eating contaminated food
Jerky dog treats, imported from China, have led many pets in the United States to sicken and die. The contaminated foodstuff have been traced to the deaths of at least 600 dogs and has sickened at least 3,000 others.
The exact genesis of the outbreak is not yet known. "This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine says. "Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it."
The treats in question are sold as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit. Most of the jerky products implicated were made in China, and manufacturers of pet foods are not bound by U.S. law to list the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.
Reportedly 580 pets have died in the outbreak. The ongoing problem has been reported to the FDA since 2007. Veterinarians say they have treated jerky pet treat-related illnesses in 3,600 dogs and 10 cats.
There has been a decrease in reports of illnesses earlier this year. Several pet jerky treats have since been pulled from the market. Officials say the number of reports may have declined because fewer jerky treats were available to consumers.
Symptoms suffered from animals include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased activity, increased water consumption and increased urination. The most severe cases have involved kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding, the FDA said.
If any of your pets show any of the above symptoms to consult a veterinarian and save any remaining treats and treat packaging for possible testing.
"Our fervent hope as animal lovers is that we will soon find the cause of-and put a stop to-these illnesses," Dunham said.
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