Tainted Pet Treats Kill 600 Cats And Dogs
October 23, 2013

Tainted Pet Treats Mysteriously Kill Nearly 600 Cats And Dogs

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Nearly 600 dogs and cats have died since 2007 after eating tainted pet treats. Now the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA) fresh from the two-week partial government shutdown, wants to understand why. An estimated 3,600 pets have become ill after eating treats mostly made in China which contain chicken, dried fruit, duck and sweet potatoes.

The FDA says their Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has already conducted over 1,200 tests on these treats and have visited the Chinese plants where the treats are manufactured. The CVM is also working with industry colleagues and foreign governments to uncover what’s making these animals sick and even die, but they have yet to find an answer. This has led the FDA to ask any pet owner or veterinarian who has had a pet affected by these treats to contact them.

“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D. in an official statement. "Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it."

So far the CVM has tested jerky treats for a number of known contaminants, including antibiotics, metals, pesticides and even Salmonella. These treats were also scanned for other chemicals and poisonous compounds as well as analyzed to ensure the ingredient listing on the package was an accurate representation of what was in the treats.

At the beginning of the year the FDA discovered a number of pet jerky treats in New York which contained up to six different drugs which weren’t included on the label. The CVM says these drugs probably aren’t responsible for killing the pets, but they have noticed a decline in the number of reports of sick or dying animals. They also say it’s likely these numbers have declined because there are simply fewer treats left available on the market after they were removed.

Pets who have digested the tainted jerky treats are experiencing symptoms such as decreased appetite, decreased activity and increased water consumption or urination. These pets have also experienced gastrointestinal issues such as bleeding, diarrhea and vomiting. The FDA estimates 60 percent of the pets affected by these treats experienced gastrointestinal issues while 30 percent experienced kidney and urinary problems, such as kidney failure and a rare kidney condition.

The FDA is also urging pet owners to feed treats to their animals as just that, a treat.

“Pet treats are not a necessary part of a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets,” reads a fact sheet posted online by the FDA. “All the nutrients your pet needs can be found in commercially produced pet food.”

The FDA is also urging these pet owners to stop feeding these treats to their cats and dogs if they begin to exhibit any of the aforementioned symptoms and immediately visit their vet’s office. Owners of affected pets are also asked to report the treats through their Safety Reporting Portal or local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.