FDA warns against jerky pet treats - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

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FDA warns against jerky pet treats

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

A startling number of pets have taken ill after eating jerky treats linked to China. More than 3,000 illnesses and 580 deaths have been reported since 2007. The Food and Drug Administration needs your help finding a cause to this food borne illness.

They do not know a specific manufacturer or brand of jerky treats but pet owners have reported illnesses related to treats made with chicken, duck, sweet potatoes, and dried fruit.

"Some of the exotic treats available out there you just don't know what you're giving them," said Dr. Hank Hall at Northside Animal Hospital.

The FDA is still trying to figure out what exactly is making these pets sick. They did have a decrease in illnesses earlier this year after several jerky pet treats were pulled from the market, but new complaints are still coming in. There are a number of symptoms pet owners should look for it they are concerned about their pet. They should look out for decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms occurred within hours of eating the treats.

Dr. Hall said pet owners should stick to the products they know and the fewer the ingredients the better.

"You can roll out some dough. You can get some hamburger meat and other little things you can put in there and freeze the excess. You know exactly what went in there," said Dr. Hall.

He also suggests vitamins as pet treats. Dr. Hall said they are good for your animals and you can clearly identify the ingredients inside. But if you dog or cat is ill after eating a jerky treat, Dr. Hall has some advice for you.

"Anytime that you have an animal that you suspect may have been poisoned, whatever it was that they're eating like the particular package of beef jerky or chicken jerky, save that package," said Dr. Hall.

He said they will be able to check and see if any other pets have gotten sick from a particular product and also they can do blood work on your pet to get a better idea of what they are suffering from.

The FDA will continue to test samples of products. They have tested for Salmonella, mold, and various metals. So far the treats have tested negative for these things.

The FDA said jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet and you should talk to your veterinarian before feeding your pet treats.

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