Jerky treats may be a favored snack for some dogs, but local veterinarians advise pet owners to be aware due to continued reports of sickness and a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation.
Thousands of complaints of pet illness have streamed into the FDA in the past year, with many of them pointing to jerky treats made in China. Serious gastrointestinal problems and more than 1,000 canine deaths are linked to the products in the past year due to complications from a kidney disease.
Pam Holden, business manager at Fort Smith Veterinarian Clinic on South 14th Street, said that after seeing numerous cases and losing one dog over a year ago the “jerky treat” question is one of the first things asked when someone calls about a sick dog.
“We advise anybody that is buying chicken jerky treats that are from China to not buy them,” Holden said. “If we have dogs come in with an upset tummy that is the first thing we ask. ‘Are they eating chicken treats from China?’”
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Symptoms may include diarrhea and loss of appetite. Holden said after people stop serving the treats the issue usually goes away. Many local stores still sell the jerky treats, she added.
Dr. Megan Hillard of Labahn Veterinary Hospital on Kelley Highway said she also hears from people whose pets are sick after they switched to a different kind of jerky treat.
“We’ve seen a lot of pets with gastrointestinal issues and a few of them have said it started when they switched to a different jerky treat,” Hillard said.
Even some jerky treats that claim to be made in the USA are being tied to a rare kidney disease that has been associated with jerky made in China, according to a recent report at PetFoodIndustry.com.
The FDA issued an update in mid-February on its ongoing investigation into pet illnesses and deaths in animals that ate jerky pet treats. As of Sept. 30, 2014, the FDA has received approximately 5,000 complaints of illness associated with consumption of chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats, most of which involve products imported from China, the FDA states.
Related Article: Why Are Jerky Treats Making Pets Sick?
PetFoodIndustry.com stated in its report last week that that the FDA reports involve “more than 5,800 dogs, 25 cats, three people, and include more than 1,000 canine deaths.” Recalls were made and complaints began to subside in May 2014.
About 270 complaints were received since the FDA’s last update in May 2014. This was big decrease from the previous period of October 2013 to May 2014 when the FDA received 1,800 complaints.
“Although it is impossible to determine in every case whether the events reported were in fact caused by eating jerky pet treats, the FDA continues to believe that there is an association between some of the reports and consumption of jerky pet treats,” a Feb. 15 FDA news release states.
The agency tells pet owners that “jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet,” and encourages them to consult with their veterinarians, both prior to feeding treats and if they notice symptoms in their pets.
By John Lovett
Times Record • firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Times Record