The federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine is investigating deaths and illnesses resulting from chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats made in China.
Despite analyzing the treats, the FDA has not yet been able to identify the specific cause that has resulted in the deaths of 600 pets and the illnesses of another 3,600. Most of the animals affected are dogs, but 10 cats have gotten sick as well.
The tainted treats cause digestive upsets and kidney problems. Other symptoms include drinking an unusual amount of water, excessive urination and lethargy. A number of cases involved Fanconi syndrome, a type of kidney diseases.
FDA officials are asking vets to track and send detailed information about any animals that gets sick after eating jerky treats. Additionally, the FDA has issued a fact sheet for owners. FDA officials encourage pet owners whose animals have gotten sick after eating commercial treats or pet food to report it.
Pet owners can protect their dogs by making homemade treats or buying only made-in-America treats. The FDA also issues recalls and safety alerts online.