FDA Warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerkyproducts to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal HealthNotification in December of 2008. After seeing the number of complaintsreceived drop off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, the FDA isonce again seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern thatprompted release of our earlier warnings.

Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for abalanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.

FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogschicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of thefollowing signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes withblood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog showsany of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners shouldconsult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen andcreatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose).Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involveddogs that have died.

FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnosticlaboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products areassociated with illness in dogs. FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network(VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories.To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for thereported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing buthas not identified a contaminant.

The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem andits origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes otherthan eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should reportcases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer ComplaintCoordinator in their state or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

I would go a step further and advise pet owners to be wary of any pet food products imported from China.  I purchase chews for Kirby all the time.  One week he became ill.  For almost a week I would wake up to discover he had vomited during the night and was lethargic in the morning.  He would be fine by the afternoon so I couldn't determine what was wrong.  I finally talked to his vet who figured out what was happening.  Kirby has a ritual of receiving a treat for tricks before bedtime.  The particular treats I had purchased turned out to be the culprit causing his distress.  They were manufactured in China so to this day I completely avoid any dog or cat treats and chews imported from China. I would advise every pet parent to read the label - check ingredients and country of origin!