The US FDA is investigating several complaints of dogs and cats becoming ill after eating “Jerky Pet Treats”. As of September 24, 2013 cases involving over 3600 dogs and 10 cats have been reported. While many of the pets have recovered, 580 of the reported dogs sadly died. Jerky Treats are sold as Jerky Tenders or Strips and are usually made from chicken, duck, sweet potato or dried fruit.
At this point in time, it is a poorly understood phenomenon and it is not clearly understood what it is about the treats that are making the pets ill. So far testing for known infectious agents and/or toxins have not revealed a definitive cause.
Affected pets can show signs of illness such as:
- decreased appetite and/or activity
- vomiting and/or diarrhea
- increased thirst and/or urination
- severe cases – pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney failure (similar to Fanconi Syndrome)
If you suspect your pet is showing signs of illness related to eating Jerky treats, you should contact your veterinarian ASAP. Bring the suspect treats with you.
At Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic, we have seen two suspected cases. Fortunately both dogs are now doing well. Remember that treats are just that – treats! They are not necessary for a balanced diet. Until this mystery is solved, we would advise against giving your pet any kind of jerky treat. Ask us about safe and delicious alternatives.
For more information, see FDA FACT SHEET below.