Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an update to its ongoing investigation of animal illnesses linked to jerky style pet treats.
One of The Animal Medical Center’s own, Dr. Richard Goldstein, Chief Medical Officer, has been serving as an advisor to the FDA and the American Veterinary Medical Association since the investigation into this issue began in 2007. Dr. Goldstein is internationally recognized for his work during the massive pet food recall related to melamine contamination in 2006.
The FDA has logged an estimated 2,200 reports of pet illnesses related to these jerky pet treats, and Dr. Goldstein was instrumental in first establishing the link between the jerky treats and kidney disease in dogs.
Now, the FDA investigation has taken a new direction. In consultation with NASA, the FDA has expanded its investigation into byproducts of irradiation, which is part of the process used to make jerky treats.
To help keep your pets safe, Dr. Goldstein suggests the following:
- Immediately eliminate all imported jerky treats from your cats’ or dogs’ diets. Feed them a commercially prepared diet which carries the “AAFCO” (Association of American Feed Control Officials) adequacy statement to ensure it provides all the nutritional requirements your pet needs to stay healthy and strong.
- If your pet’s jerky treats do not list a country of origin, call the company’s toll free number listed on the bag or box to confirm the country of manufacture.
- Make your own jerky treats.
- If you choose to feed your pet a commercial jerky pet treat product, watch for any signs of illness: decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), increased water consumption, and/or increased urination.
- If any of these symptoms occur, stop feeding your pet the treats and see your veterinarian immediately. Take a sample of your pet’s urine to the veterinary visit.
- Blood tests performed by your veterinarian can help determine if the jerky treats are causing a problem. The tests may indicate kidney disease (increased blood urea nitrogen and creatinine) and increased liver enzymes. Urine tests may indicate Fanconi like syndrome (glucose in the urine).
- Although most pets appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs and a cat that have died.
- If your pet is diagnosed with a jerky treat-related illness, report that illness to the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal or call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.