Jerky Treats Recall: FDA Investigates 'Mysterious Outbreak' Leaving Almost 600 Dogs & Cats Dead (Video)
Oct 23, 2013 02:20 PM EDT
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert to consumers about illnesses and deaths likely attributed to jerky treats from China, which has left left approximately 580 dogs and cats dead and sickened more than 3,600 since 2007, Fox News reported. The FDA used an opportunity to put out a call to pet owners to assist in gathering information about its cause.
The vast majority of the illnesses, and death, have affected largely dogs, and the number has risen substantially in January, apparently from "eating chicken, duck, sweet potato and fruit-flavored jerky treats, many of which are imported from China," The Huffington Post reported.
The "typical symptoms include decreased appetite and activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and increased urination. Some affected pets suffer kidney failure," according to USA Today.
"This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've ever encountered. Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort and we are giving it," said Bernadette Dunham, director o the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine in a statement. "Our fervent hope as animal lovers is that we will soon find the cause of-and put a stop to-these illnesses," Dunham added.
Dunham conducted 1,200 tests and visited jerky manufacturers in China, according to USA Today.
The FDA noted that reports of sickened pets declined since a number of jerky product were off the shelves in January, largely due a discovery at a New York laboratory "found trace amounts of six types of antibiotics in chicken jerky treats made in China, five of which are banned in the U.S," The Huffington Post also reported.
The FDA also said that it continues to test the products for chemical contaminants, and regularly meets with Chinese regulators and U.S. pet food companies, in hopes of sharing information and fight the root cause of the outbreak.