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Pet Food News / Pet Food Safety
On May 20, 2014

China pet jerky treats now linked to three human illnesses

Seven years of investigation have brought no answers

Pet jerky treats, mostly imported from China, are now linked to three human illnesses in addition to the more than 1,000 dog deaths and 4,800 dog illnesses reported, according to reports.

Unfortunately, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it still can't identify a specific cause for the illnesses and deaths, in spite of seven years of testing and investigation. “The agency continues to caution pet owners that jerky treats are not required for a balanced diet and encourage them to consult with their veterinarians, both prior to feeding treats and if they notice symptoms in their pets,” said FDA.

The humans who consumed the treats included two toddlers who ingested them accidentally and an adult who may have been snacking on the questionable products, which include chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats, an FDA official said. One of the children was diagnosed with a Salmonella infection, and the other developed gastrointestinal illness and fever that mirrored the symptoms of dogs in the house that also ate the treats. The adult reported nausea and headache.

About 60% of the cases (which overall include 5,600 dogs and 24 cats) involve symptoms of gastrointestinal trouble and liver disease, 30% involve kidney disease and about 10% involve other complaints, including neurological and skin conditions, said the FDA. About 15% of the kidney or urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rare disease that has been associated with the treats. The FDA plans to join with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch a study similar to epidemiological traceback investigations used with people, comparing foods eaten by sick dogs with foods eaten by pets that did not get sick.

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