KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has requested help from the Centers for Disease Control to determine what contaminant is making pets sick, sometimes with fatal results.
The CDC primarily tracks illnesses in humans.
“So far, testing for contaminants in jerky pet treats has not revealed a cause for the illnesses,” the FDA has stated on its website.
It has been seven years since the FDA first became aware of an increasing number of complaints about pet illnesses associated with jerky treats. Most of the treats came from China.
According to an investigation by sister station KTLA, the FDA has received 4,800 reports of illnesses that “may be related to consumption of the jerky treats.” More than 1,000 dogs as a result of the illness.
In a story in The Washington Post Bernadette Dunham, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA, called the jerky-treat illnesses and deaths “one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered.”
Although no recall has been issued on the jerky-treat products, the FDA urges pet owners to watch their pets closely after feeding them these treats. If they suspect illness, report the symptoms to the FDA.
One veterinarian also reminds pet owners that nutritionally, pets do not need treats. Click here for more on that.
Petco says it will also stop selling dog and cat treats made in China by the end of this year due to ongoing fears that the imported treats are making pets sick.
Petco, which operates 1,300 stores, says shoppers are asking it to stop selling the treats. The pet food retailer is switching them out for treats made in the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and South America.
Rival PetSmart Inc. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Click here for KTLA’s story on one pet owner’s sudden loss after feeding her dog jerky treats.