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FDA Investigates Tainted Pet Jerky

Story By: Larry Stine



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  Original Published: 10/27/2013 New research suggests the treats we feed our pets may be making them sick or worse. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating a popular pet treat that's been linked to hundreds of dog deaths. Some manufacturers are voluntarily recalling their treats until investigators get to the bottom of the problem. CNN's Michaela Pereira has the details. It's a mysterious treat-related illness, that can be deadly for your pet. "The most severe symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, but the real underlying problem causing the problem is kidney disease," says Diane Levitan, Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist. The Food and Drug Administration linked pet jerky treat products, most of which were made in China, to 580 deaths and more than 3,600 illnesses in dogs since 2007. But it's not just attacking man's best friend. At least 10 cats have also fallen ill. The FDA says more than 1,200 samples have been tested since 2011, looking for things like "pesticides and salmonella." "They have to not only narrow down, to which product, but then which ingredient," says Renee Smith, a veterinarian. "And then to see how many different products that one ingredient is in." Investigators claim to be meeting "with regulators in China to share its findings" but experts are still stumped as to what's making the animals sick. In a last-ditch effort, the FDA sent a letter to veterinarians around the nation, requesting a "urine sample" and "blood work" from ill pets who consumed jerky pet treats. "It's very important to educate veterinarians so that we can educate our clients," says Levitan. "And stopping them from eating the treats could reverse any damage that's been done." Nestle Purina, Canyon Creek and Corp's Milo's are voluntarily recalling their products while the FDA investigates. "If it's unhealthy and they're warning you against it, then no, you shouldn't be giving it to them," says Saundra McKenzie, a pet owner. Since the FDA unleashed inspectors, they found one firm in China used falsified receiving documents for the jerky ingredient "glycerin." Since then, Chinese authorities seized their products and suspended exports, in hopes they'll find what's killing our four-legged friends. But so far, there's no evidence the ingredient "glycerin" is the cause.
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