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It has been widely known that jerky-style, particularly chicken, duck, and sweet potato, dog treats made in, imported from, or using ingredients from China have been linked to the illness and death of thousands of dogs in the United States.
However, new information from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Veterinary Information Network are confirming that the same illnesses are continuing to occur, even in dogs that have only been fed jerky-style treats made entirely in the United States with US-sourced ingredients.
A news release from the Veterinary Information Network explains:
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman confirmed Friday that the agency is “aware of complaints related to ‘USA’ made products.” Siobhan DeLancey of the FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine said: “We have found some of these products may contain ingredients from outside of the U.S. FDA continues its investigation into these, as well as other, jerky treats potentially linked to illnesses.”
Dr. Urs Giger, director of the Metabolic Genetics Screening Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, said his laboratory has diagnosed recent cases of acquired Fanconi disease in dogs that ate treats that ostensibly were not made in China or with ingredients from China.
Since 2007, the FDA has been receiving complaints of illness in pets, predominantly dogs, that ate jerky treats. The phenomenon became commonly understood as a Chinese-chicken-jerky-treat problem because most of the products were chicken-based and made in China. Until recently, virtually all chicken jerky for pets was imported from China.
The FDA confirmed that they continue to receive complaints about these treats and are actively investigating a link between jerky treats and illnesses in dogs. Despite several years of investigation, the FDA has yet to discover a contaminant or ingredient in these treats that would explain the thousands of reported illnesses.
Until a contaminant is found, a mandatory recall cannot be initiated and the treats will remain on store shelves.
For many years, the jerky-related illnesses appeared to only affect American dogs. However, cases of jerky-associated acquired Fanconi disease – impaired kidney function and glucose in urine – are now appearing in European dogs as well.
For now, the FDA continues to warn pet parents of the risks of feeding jerky style treats, including recommending they either not be fed at all, or they be fed exactly according to the instructions on the bag only after discussing each individual dog’s health history with a veterinarian.
The same symptoms and illnesses reported in commercially produced jerky treats have not been found in homemade treats. So, if your dog simply can’t live without his chicken jerky, it is recommended you make it yourself at home.