More than 1,000 dogs are now believed to have died from ingesting toxic jerky treats, most of which were made in China, according to a recent FDA update.
The agency says that there have been 5,000 complaints from pet owners since 2007 of the treats causing their dogs health problems. Reported symptoms include mostly gastrointestinal or liver disease. A third of cases were linked to kidney and urinary diseases, some of which were connected to a rare and fatal illness called Fanconi syndrome.
Neurologic, dermatologic and immunologic symptoms were also reported.
The treats, which were mostly imported from China, contain chicken, duck, or sweet potato, the agency says.
The FDA did not name any specific brands in its latest release. Some companies, including Nestle Purina, which makes Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats, and Del Monte, which makes Milo's Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats and Chicken Grillers, recalled their jerky products voluntarily in 2007. The FDA did not issue a recall, stating that they had not found a definitive cause for the spate of doggy deaths.
Dr. Jonathan Levine, an associate veterinarian at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in New York City, advises pet owners to check the labels of any food or treats before giving them to their furry friends.
“Always be aware of what you're buying and where it's coming from,” Levine told Fox News.
And just because a product says “Made in the USA” does not mean that ingredients do not come from China, the FDA warns.
The agency has partnered with the Center for Disease Control to further investigate this rash of illnesses.