- Jerky pet treats, commonly formulated from chicken, duck, dried fruit, and sweet potatoes, have been associated with an unexplained outbreak of pet illnesses, some of which have led to fatalities.
- The FDA has yet to uncover the root cause of these illnesses despite extensive investigations, and they’re actively seeking aid from the public, particularly vets and pet owners, for additional information.
- Numerous implicated jerky treats originate from China, and there are currently no legal obligations for pet food creators to disclose the origin of each ingredient in their products.
- Warning signs that a pet might have been affected by these treats include reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased activity. More severe symptoms can include kidney failure or gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Pet owners are advised to be vigilant when giving their pets jerky treats, to report any associated illnesses to the FDA, and to remember that treats are not a dietary necessity for pets.
Assue related to “jerky” pet treats has been raised, as they have been associated with unknown health conditions in thousands of dogs. This concern has triggered urgent investigations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who has actively sought public input to unravel the complication.
Mystery Surrounding Pet Illnesses
“This is amongst the most baffling and incomprehensible outbreaks we’ve faced,” stated Bernadette Dunham, the director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “We owe it to our cherished pets to give our utmost effort, and that’s precisely what we’re doing.”
Regrettably, in some instances, pets have experienced severe health deterioration after consuming these snacks. The treats are marketed as jerky tenders or strips formulated from chicken, duck, dried fruit, or sweet potatoes. Shockingly, since 2007, approximately 580 pets lost their lives due to health conditions traced back to these products, reveals the FDA.
Unexplained Pet Sickness
The FDA still can’t pinpoint why these pets are developing illnesses. As the investigation proceeds, the FDA urges pet owners whose pets became unwell after consuming jerky treats, to step forward and provide relevant information.
Most jerky treats implicated in these incidents originate from China. Interestingly, pet food producers aren’t obligated by any legal statute to disclose the country of manufacture for each ingredient found in their items.
Investigation Steps from the FDA
The FDA has initiated DNA tests on jerky treats and is also conducting additional screenings for various chemical and microbiological contaminants, such as antibiotics, metals, pesticides, and Salmonella.
After administering more than 1,200 tests and consulting with researchers and officials domestically and internationally, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is yet to uncover the root cause of the illnesses affecting pets that have ingested the jerky treats.
Collecting Further Information
Pet owners and veterinarians across the USA are invited to provide insights to help unravel these mysterious deaths and illnesses. Veterinarians are requested to submit blood and urine samples from affected pets. It’s noteworthy that pet owners may have to cover the costs associated with these tests and shipping.
To keep pet owners informed, the FDA will be distributing a fact sheet and a letter to veterinarians. Furthermore, pet owners should remember that treats are not a dietary necessity. They are also urged to report any associated illnesses that may be linked to these treats by reaching out to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for their respective state.
Pet owners are also strongly advised to remain vigilant about giving jery treats to their pets, and to be cautious of potential symptoms of gastrointestinal or urinary problems.
Potential Indicators of Illness
To help pet owners identify potential issues, the FDA has provided the following list of symptoms that may manifest within hours of consuming jerky treats:
- Reduced appetite
- Decreased activity
- Diarrhea (occasionally accompanied by blood or mucus)
- Increased water intake or urination
In extreme cases, pets may encounter kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder. Additionally, pets may show other symptoms such as collapse, seizures, or skin conditions.
In January, several jerky pet treat products were taken off the market after a New York State lab discovered traces of up to six drugs in treats produced in China. The FDA highlighted that such low levels of these substances are not likely to have caused the illnesses.
While the number of reported cases has tapered since product removal, the FDA attributes this decline to the reduced availability of such treats to consumers.
Advice for Pet Owners
Owners noticing their pet’s ill-health post jerky treat consumption should immediately cease giving these snacks and consider seeking veterinary advice. They are also advised to save any leftover jerky treats for possible testing in the future.
In the ongoing efforts to determine the cause of these illnesses, attention might shift to the supply chain for specific ingredients used in the treats after FDA discovered falsified receiving documents for glycerin, commonly included in jerky treats.
The FDA is planning to collaborate with Chinese scientists and U.S. pet food companies to augment scientific cooperation.
“Our earnest hope as animal enthusiasts is to quickly find the cause and put an end to these sicknesses,” expressed Dunham.
More information about pet illnesses linked to jerky treats can be found here.