According to a new report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are still plenty of reasons to be careful about giving your dog those jerky treats that they so dearly love. Earlier this year, Joe’s Jerky Treats and Dogswell announced recalls of their treats made in China because of contamination with salmonella and antibiotic residue. On Tuesday, the FDA released a progress report stating that reports of illness or death due to jerky treats have declined sharply since the product recalls, but it’s still investigating, and it says vets and pet owners should still be cautious.
The FDA reported more than 3,000 complaints about illness linked to chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, including almost 600 deaths since 2007. The problems include gastrointestinal and kidney problems, including Fanconi syndrome.
Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, says that “This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered.” The FDA reports that it has tested 1,200 samples and inspected facilities in China, but it still can’t find the source of the problems. Dunham says that “Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it,” and that the FDA wants to hear from veterinarians and consumers about any symptoms that might be connected to jerky treats.
So what do you look for if you’re afraid that your beloved pet might have gotten a bad treat? A fact sheet released by the FDA says that the most common symptoms include decreased appetite, low energy, increased water consumption, urination, diarrhea, or vomiting within a few hours of eating a jerky treat. Even though reports are declining, for now it might be a good idea to look for alternative tasty rewards for your four-legged friend.