The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning today that illnesses tied to jerky treats have caused
nearly 600 pet deaths since 2007.
The outbreak — which has affected dogs of all breeds and ages and some cats as well — is believed to come from China, but officials are dumbfounded as to the exact cause.
“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, told LA Times in a statement. “Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it.”
From NBC News:
The new numbers are up from some 500 deaths and 3,200 illnesses tallied in January, but the rate of reports has fallen sharply since then, mostly because two of the largest sellers of pet jerky treats announced recalls tied to the presence of unapproved antibiotic residue detected in the products.
FDA officials don’t think that antibiotic residue is the big problem that has stumped the agency since 2007, when pet owners started reporting their animals were suffering gastrointestinal and kidney problems after eating the popular jerky treats.
Officials are warning pet owners to be cautious with giving jerky treats, which are not completely necessary to a pet’s balanced diet. Most pets that have been affected exude symptoms within hours, which include a decreased activity and appetite, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
FDA is also asking pet owners for help in reporting any incidents involving pet jerky.
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