The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today that it “continues to believe that there is an association” between some reports of illness associated with pet jerky treats and consumption of the treats.
“The agency continues to caution pet owners that jerky pet 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,” the FDA said.
The warning came in the FDA’s twice-yearly update on its ongoing investigation into pet illnesses and deaths in animals that ate jerky treats.
As of Sept. 30, 2014, the FDA had received approximately 5,000 complaints of illness associated with consumption of chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, most of which involved products imported from China, according to the update. The reports involve more than 5,800 dogs, 25 cats, and three people, and include more than 1,000 canine deaths, the FDA said.
About 270 complaints were reported since the FDA’s last update in May 2014 – a significant decrease from 1,800 reports in the previous period (October 2013 to May 2014). Because of the reduction, the FDA said it is tentatively planning to shift from twice-yearly routine reporting to annual reporting, but will post non-routine updates if needed. The planned change in reporting does not mean the agency is reducing its effort to investigate the cause of the illnesses, the FDA said.
The FDA has said previously that it needs help from veterinarians as it proceeds with its investigation. Specifically, the agency has asked that veterinarians help in these three ways:
- Submit samples and related information on potential jerky pet treat-related illnesses to FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network.
- Share with your clients the FDA’s Fact Sheet on jerky pet treat products.
- Report suspected jerky treat-related adverse events through the FDA Safety Reporting Portal.
For additional information about the jerky treat investigation, including recommendations for both veterinarians and animal owners, see our Safety Alert on Jerky Treats for Pets page.
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