FDA investigates jerky pet treats after thousands of illnesses a - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

FDA investigates jerky pet treats after thousands of illnesses and deaths

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A major warning from the FDA, the treats you give your beloved pets could potentially kill them. The FDA is referring to jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit.

FDA officials warn pet owners to watch out for those that are marked, made in china, because they could be related to thousands of illnesses and hundreds of deaths.

Dr. Paul Howard who specializes in emergency vet care at Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Carytown says he never recommends jerky treats for pets.

"My issue with a lot of these is it's highly processed, it's very difficult, the FDA can tell you, it's very difficult to trace these things back to their origin, and really be able to tell you what's going on," said Howard.

That's what the Food and Drug Administration is investigating. The FDA calls the illness a mystery.

Since 2007 - the FDA received reports of illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats just in the U.S.

And among them, 580 pets have died all tied to something that's in the jerky treats.

"I don't advise dog owners to use them to give them to their pets and part of the reason for that is, I see the bad side of that," said Howard.

The FDA says severe cases have involved kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder.

"The most common symptoms we see here are lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, not wanting to eat," said Howard.

More than 1,200 jerky pet treat samples have been tested for a variety of chemical and microbiological contaminants, from antibiotics to metals, pesticides and salmonella - and the tests continue until they find a cause.

The FDA says it'll continue inspections in china - and work with the facilities there until all of their questions are answered.

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