MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners of tainted jerky treats from China after seeing a surge in illnesses. Since 2007, the FDA says 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have gotten sick, and about 580 of those pets have died.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has now tested 1,200 products and visited manufacturing plants in China, but still can’t determine the exact cause.
“I’ve had several people say to me ‘Well, since all of this has been happening I’m much more cautious and I buy a food that’s only manufactured here in the United States,’” said Isis Sanchez, a veterinary surgeon with Bluepearl Veterinary Partners in Eden Prairie.
Sanchez said her staff hasn’t seen any cases of tainted jerky come through their emergency room. She said a good portion of pet owners are aware of the contaminated treats.
“I’ve kind of heard of things happening like this in the past, so I’m just very hesitant with the types of foods and treats that I get,” said dog owner Jessica Winter. “I usually make most of my treats.”
Some of the treats contain chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and dried fruit. After eating the infected treats, pets exhibited decreased appetite and activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and increased urination.
In January, the FDA removed a number of treats from store shelves. That caused a decline in jerky-suspected illnesses.
“I think because it’s starting to resurface more — people are being cautious about what they’re buying,” Sanchez said.
The FDA said if your pet becomes ill after eating a jerky treat, take your pet to a veterinarian and save any remaining treats and packaging so that they can be tested.