UT veterinarian gives advice about tainted pet treats

The FDA is calling it one of the most mysterious outbreaks it has ever seen in pets. The agency is now asking veterinarians and pet owners for help.

Since 2007, the FDA said jerky treats primarily from China have killed nearly 600 pets and caused 3,600 more to get sick.

"This is actually not a new problem. It started around 2007 when we first started to see issues with the jerky treats," said UT Veterinary Nutritionist Angela Witzel.

Dr. Witzel and veterinarians around the country received a letter from the FDA asking for their help in identifying cases.

The agency said on its websiteit has conducted 1,200 tests on jerky treats. While it can't determine the exact cause of the illness, the FDA does know jerky treats made from chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and dried fruit are causing stomach and urinary problems in dogs. There are no specific brands listed.

The report said most of the problem treats are from China. The FDA said it has seen a decrease in these cases since it took several jerky treats off the shelves in January.

"Manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin of every ingredient in their product. So you could have an American company who has certain ingredients from China. So it's really difficult to tell," said Dr. Witzel.

When the problems first started coming out, the owner of Agri-Feed Pet Supply, Melissa Strum, started to look at her products more closely.

"I chose products that are sourced in the USA and the company that is putting their name on the product is also making the product," she said.

For now, Dr. Witzel says until we know more pet owners should avoid chicken, duck, sweet potato, and dried fruit jerky treats.

She said biscuits or fresh fruit and vegetables, with the exception of grapes and raisins, are good alternatives.

The FDA asks that you contact them if your pet has experienced problems after eating jerky treats. Click here to read the FDA's full progress report.


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