In the news and in your pantry; what you need to know about chicken jerky dog treats
Like many pet parents who have been watching the news lately, I’ve seen many stories that have been surfacing about chicken jerky dog treat products that are made in China.
Going back to late 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued a statement saying they were again warning consumers of imported chicken jerky products that may be associated with illness in dogs. It was reported in the past 12 months that they had “seen an increase” in the number of dog illnesses associated with imported chicken jerky products.
The original statement was issued in September of 2007 as a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers.
Also in their 2011 statement, the FDA reported they have been working with the Veterinary Laboratory Response Network to test samples of the product and “To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.”
In 2007, the FDA received 156 reports of dogs who had fallen ill due to imported chicken jerky products. The number of reported illnesses dropped in 2008, but have been on the rise since. It was reported that at least 353 dogs suffered from an illness or death related to the chicken jerky product.
Despite extensive chemical and microbiological testing since 2007, the FDA has not identified problems with a specific contaminant or a specific brand or type of treat and has not issued any kind of recall.
In local news here in the Cincinnati area, two families have come forward saying they have lost their dogs due to kidney failure that their veterinarians have linked to feeding the chicken treats. The Thaxton family of Cleveland, Ohio who had lost their 10 year-old pug named Chancey and nearly lost their puppy due to the contaminated chicken treats held a press conference with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown urging the FDA to protect consumers and pet owners by recalling the product until whatever causing this can be identified and solved.
So what do you as a pet parent need to know?
If you feed your dog any chicken product that is labeled as chicken tenders, jerky or treats check your packaging to see if it is an imported product from China. If it is, quit feeding the treats immediately even if your dog is not showing any symptoms of being sick.
If your dog is exhibiting any symptoms such as decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, increased water consumption and increased urination- seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms and more have lead to kidney failure, Fanconi syndrome, and other fatal issues in dogs within hours or days of eating the contaminated product. Check the packaging of any chicken products you are feeding to see if they are imported, if you are unsure take the packaging with you to the animal hospital and show it to your veterinarian.
Want to take action and tell the FDA to recall imported chicken treats until the contaminate is identified? Write to your local and state representative and tell them to join Ohio Senator Brown’s efforts in urging the FDA to pull the product from store shelves.
If you or a fellow pet parent has a complaint related not only to the chicken treats discussed in this posting but ANY pet food, report it to the Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible.
Photo Courtesy: Nevada Tumbleweed (Mark Holloway)
“Popular Dog Treat Could Cause Kidney Failure, Death.” Columbus, Ohio News 10
“Chicken jerky treats sicken 353 dogs, owners report” Vitals, MSNBC.com
“FDA continues to caution dog owners about chicken jerky products” FDA.gov
“Congressional leaders, pet owners want FDA action over reports of treats making dogs sick” Cleveland, Ohio News 5
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