With over 3600 dogs affected, including at least 580 deaths, the cause of the jerky pet treat-illness remains a mystery.
Many pet owners are upset that the FDA hasn’t issued a recall, but, to date, labs haven’t determined any specific ingredient or contaminant to be the cause of the problem.
Without a cause, the Food and Drug Administration can’t issue a recall, so pet owners, you’re on your own.
Products From China Implicated in Pet Deaths and Illness
Pet owners should be cautious when purchasing and feeding chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats, particularly those manufactured in China. And, while the majority of the cases have involved dogs, at least 10 cats have been affected as well.
The FDA update notes that it has inspected a number of Chinese manufacturing facilities, resulting in the Chinese inspection agency seizing products and suspending export at one facility. The FDA is also seeking collaboration from pet food and treat manufacturers in resolving this mystery.
Pet Treat-Related Illnesses: Products
All reported incidents involved chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats manufactured in China. The FDA report notes that the number of complaints dropped sharply early in the year after the New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing (NYSDAM) found unapproved antibiotic residues in some of the treats manufactured in China. Since these products have been unavailable, fewer pets have gotten sick.
To date, the three most commonly reported treats have been Waggin’ Train (Nestle Purina PetCare), Canyon Creek Ranch (Nestle Purina PetCare) and Milo’s Kitchen (Del Monte Corporation). Chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats have been implicated so far in the U.S.
Dog and Cat Symptoms After Eating Contaminated Treats
Owners have reported both gastrointestinal and kidney/urinary symptoms have been reported, along with lower activity levels suggesting the pets don’t feel well. Digestive symptoms include decreased appetite, vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes with blood). Increased water consumption (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria) have been linked to kidney and urinary problems.
Where vets have taken blood tests, they have noted signs of kidney failure, including increased urea nitrogen and creatinine. Vets have also found Fanconi-like syndrome, or acquired proximal renal tubulopathy, and in other cases, abnormal blood results have included elevated liver enzymes.
FDA Testing Submitted Samples For a Number of Potential Contaminants
The FDA testing program is looking at a broad range of potential contaminants. According to the FDA website each test run look for one or more of the following contaminants: salmonella, metals and elements such as arsenic and lead, markers of irradiation level (such as acyclobutanones), pesticides, antibiotics (including both approved and unapproved sulfanomides and tetracyclines), mold and mycotoxins (toxins from mold), rodenticides, nephrotoxins (such as aristolochic acid, maleic acid, paraquat, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, toxic hydrocarbons, melamine, and related triazines), and other chemicals and poisonous compounds (such as endotoxins).