WASHINGTON — Officials from the Food and Drug Administration hope to hear from pet owners and veterinarians whose pets and patients became ill after consuming jerky treats.
According to a posting on the FDA’s website, the organization has received reports of jerky treat-related illnesses in 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the United States since 2007.
An estimated 580 of those pets have died.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has conducted more than 1,200 tests, visited pet jerky treat manufacturers in China, and collaborated with academic colleagues, state labs, foreign governments and industry officials, but has yet to determine the exact cause of the illnesses, the posting said.
“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D. “Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it.”
Symptoms of the illnesses include decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and/or increased urination.
An estimated 60 percent of cases involved gastrointestinal illness and about 30 percent involved kidney and urinary problems.
If you suspect your pet has been sickened after eating treats made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit, you can help the FDA’s investigation by reporting your complaints through the Safety Reporting Portal at www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov or your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.