After widespread illness and in some cases death, dog owners everywhere are scrambling to assess their dog’s treats to decide if they’re at risk for the unknown contaminate that’s making dogs sick worldwide. Though treats originating from China are thought to be the culprit, the actual cause is still unknown. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to caution consumers about a potential association between the development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products. “The products—also called chicken tenders, strips, or treats—are imported from China. FDA continues to receive complaints of sick dogs that their owners or veterinarians associate with eating chicken jerky products.” At least one firm in Australia has also recalled their chicken jerky product, and the recall notification stated the product was manufactured in China. The FDA’s website gave the most comprehensive overview of what their role in protecting our pets is, how they are evaluating the cases, and what we can do to protect our furry friends. Highlights include:
What the FDA is doing:
- FDA, in addition to several veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the United States, is working to find out why these products are associated with illness in dogs. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a precise cause for the reported illnesses.
- FDA has conducted extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified any contaminant.
- FDA continues to actively investigate the problem. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky.
The FDA’s Tips for Consumers:
- Do not substitute chicken jerky products for a balanced diet. The products are intended to be used occasionally and in small quantities. Owners of small dogs must be especially careful to limit the amount of these products.
- If you choose to feed your dog chicken jerky products, watch the dog closely. Stop feeding the product if your dog shows any of the following signs, which may occur within hours to days after feeding the product:
– decreased appetite, although some dogs may continue to eat the treats instead of other foods
– decreased activity
– diarrhea, sometimes with blood
– increased water drinking or increased urination
- Call your veterinarian if signs are severe or last for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to FDA have involved dogs that have died.
- Consumers and veterinarians should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods or treats to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator listed for their area.
What precautions are you taking to safeguard your pet(s)? — Casandra Armour
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