The U.S. Food and also Drug administration issued a number of warnings to American pet owner in the at an early stage 2010s.

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Published27 November 2011Updated21 may 2014

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In solution to reports of illnesses in pets connected with the usage of jerky pet treats (primarily manufactured in China), end the past several years the U.S. Food and also Drug administration (FDA) has actually issued number of advisories to consumers: one in September 2007, one in December 2008, one in November 2011, one in September 2012, and also another in may 2014.

For example, one FDA advisory released on 14 September 2012 chronicled 2,200 reports of pet illnesses linked with jerky treats:

Since 2007, the FDA has become aware of raising numbers of illnesses in pets linked with the usage of jerky pet treats. The bulk of complaints show off chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and also strips), but others incorporate duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped approximately dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.

The FDA has received around 2,200 reports of pet illnesses which may be associated to intake of the jerky treats. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats additionally have been affected. End the past 18 month the reports have included information top top 360 canine deaths and also one feline death. Over there does not appear to be a geographical pattern come the situation reports. Situations have to be reported from every 50 states and 6 Canadian districts in the previous 18 months.


By might 2014, those numbers had actually swelled to incorporate 4,800 complaints:

As of may 1, 2014, we have received in total much more than 4,800 complaints of condition in pets the ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly every one of which room imported indigenous China. The reports involve much more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three people, and include more than 1,000 canine deaths. The break down of symptoms connected with the situations is comparable to that of previously reports: around 60 percent of the instances report gastrointestinal/liver disease, 30 percent kidney or urinary disease, through the continuing to be 10 percent the complaints including various other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and also immunologic symptoms. Around 15 percent that the kidney or urinary cases likewise tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rarely kidney disease that has actually been associated with this investigation.

In an answer to this information, in might 2014 the national chain that Petco sleeve pet shop announced it would stop selling Chinese-made jerky treats in every one of its stores by the finish of 2014:

Petco became the an initial national pet retail chain to eliminate all China-made dog and also cat treats when it announced that it would avoid selling the assets in its more than 1,300 places by the finish of <2014>.

“We recognize some pet parents space wary that dog and also cat treats made in China, especially Chicken Jerky products, and also we’ve heard your concerns,” claimed Petco CEO Jim Myers in a statement. “As a leader in the industry and also the trusted partner for our pet parents, we’re passionate to make this transition and to broaden our assortment that safe and healthy treats, the bulk of which space made right below in the U.S. Very simply, we feel this decision is in the ideal interest of the pets us all love and, ultimately, because that our business.”

Petco claimed that the doesn’t desire its client to take any type of chances. “We recognize the FDA hasn’t yet figured out a direct reason for the report illnesses, however we determined the uncertainty of the instance outweighs the lack of actual proof,” stated Myers. “It has taken some time and careful thought to get to this point, however we’re proud to do the change and we think our customers will certainly be pleased with it together well.”

However, the FDA still has not definitively created a causative link between pet illness and also the usage of jerky treats, stating that although they “continue to obtain complaints of dog experiencing illness that their owner or vets associate with intake of chicken jerky commodities … to date, scientists have actually not been able to identify a definitive cause for the reported illnesses”:

Although the FDA has been actively investigating the reports the illnesses, no definitive cause has to be determined. The ongoing global investigation is complex, multifaceted and includes a wide variety of professionals at the FDA consisting of toxicologists, epidemiologists, veterinary researchers, forensic chemists, microbiologists, ar investigators and an elderly agency officials.

At best, the FDA has so far been able to do necropsies on a few dozen dog whose deaths were attributed to jerky treats. That company found fifty percent that those deaths go not show up to be concerned jerky pet treats, and the causes of death in the other fifty percent may or may not have actually been attached to the consumption of jerky treats:

FDA has had actually the chance to execute necropsies (post-mortem examinations) top top 26 dogs, 13 the which showed up to have causes of death not related to consumption of jerky pet treats. Of the remaining 13 cases, an association with usage of jerky pet treats could not be ruled out. Eleven of this dogs had indications of kidney an illness and two involved gastrointestinal disease.


On 22 October 2013, the FDA released a development Report noting that the “rate that complaints associated with jerky pet treats dropped high solution after several well-known brands were gotten rid of from the market in January 2013,” but reiterating the the “FDA has actually not yet figured out a reason for the reported illnesses”:

As that September 24, 2013, FDA has received approximately 3000 complaints of illness related to usage of chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, most of which involve products imported native China. The reports involve much more than 3600 dogs, 10 cats and also include an ext than 580 deaths. FDA proceeds to inspection the reason of this illnesses in conjunction v our partners in the vet Laboratory investigation and solution Network (Vet-LIRN), a network of animal health laboratories affiliated v FDA.

The complaints FDA has received include adverse occasions involving various sizes, ages and breeds of dogs. About 60 percent of the reports space for gastrointestinal disease (with or without elevated liver enzymes) and around 30 percent relate to kidney or urinary signs. The staying 10 percent of instances involve a range of other signs, consisting of convulsions, tremors, hives, and also skin irritation.

It is vital to note that the reported illnesses space not restricted to jerky treats make from chicken. We have received complaints about duck and also sweet potato jerky treats and related products, such as jerky-wrapped rawhide treats. We know that the illnesses and also deaths reported room mostly attached to jerky pets treats sourced native China. Pet owners need to be aware, however, that manufacturers do not must list the nation of origin for each ingredient used in your products.

FDA has actually noticed a sharp drop in the number of complaints because several treat assets were gotten rid of from the sector in January 2013 following a research by the brand-new York State department of agriculture and Marketing (NYSDAM) the revealed low levels the antibiotic residual water in those products. Recalled commodities included several popular brands thought to consist of the bulk of the jerky pets treat market. FDA believes it unlikely that the reports of disease it has actually received are brought about by the presence of antibiotic residual water in jerky pet treat products. Rather, since the brands that were recalled represent a far-ranging portion the the jerky pet treat market in the united States, FDA theorizes, therefore, the the drop turn off in complaints since January 2013 is the more likely the an outcome of the basic lack of availability jerky pet treat products.

To date, trial and error for contaminants in jerky pet treats has actually not revealed a reason for the illnesses.

The FDA additionally explained the difficulties it deals with in do the efforts to recognize the particular cause behind pet disease reports:

This investigation continues to it is in a an overwhelming one because that FDA. Complicating the investigation are some an essential differences between investigations right into illnesses in civilization versus those in pets.

In human condition outbreaks caused by foodborne bacteria or contaminates, FDA works in concert v the Centers for condition Control and Prevention (CDC) and state board of health, i m sorry collect and also track cases of foodborne illness. Unfortunately, over there is no indistinguishable for pets, which method that that is challenging to accurately advice the scope of one outbreak.

Another complicating element in the investigation is the lack of post-mortem information. Once a human dies unexpectedly, the is not unexplained for a clinical examiner to do an autopsy to try to identify the cause of death. When a pet dies, the is much much less likely that qualified veterinary pathologists will have the chance to examine the body. By the time FDA receive reports that deaths in pets, the body has actually often already been cremated or buried, eliminating the opportunity for scientists to gather much more information around potential causes for the pet’s illness.

Finally, FDA does no have access to sector data around food items for pets. FDA regulations perform not call for product registration because that foods, even if it is they are intended for people or animals. Therefore, that is daunting to appreciate the scope of the jerky pet treat market and the different products accessible to consumers.

Pet owner who think their pet have end up being ill from consuming jerky treats must observe the complying with steps to assist the FDA in that investigation:

In enhancement to your contact information, your pet’s symptoms, and medical records, the one item of info we most regularly lack is the lot number of the jerky treat product. If we have the lot of numbers, we deserve to identify whether details lots triggered an ext complaints, trace products ago to particular manufacturing facilities, and also identify lots because that testing. While we still want to hear indigenous you also without the many number, this information can help our examination immensely.

If you discover it practically to carry pet food and treats come a an additional container to safeguard them indigenous rodents, insects or spoilage, FDA recommends the you consider saving the initial packaging. This will assist ensure the you will certainly still have accessibility to the lot password if her pet becomes ill from spend the product.

While working with your vet to evaluation your pet’s records, FDA and also Vet-LIRN scientists might request details testing to shot to narrow under the reason of her pet’s illness. The prices of tests requested by the researchers will be spanned by Vet-LIRN and also FDA, but pet owners will certainly not be reimbursed because that any added testing prices they might incur.

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Although it is always a challenging topic to consider, in the event of a pet death that shows up to be concerned the intake of jerky pet treats, post-mortem trial and error of pet tissues, such together a necropsy (in human being medicine, doctors call this procedure one autopsy) may likewise be helpful. While we desire to do whatever we deserve to to avoid pets from becoming ill in the very first place, having the chance to research tissues may fill gaps in information that can aid us decide a reason for the reports of injury and death.

For extr information, check out the FDA’s website and this episode of CBC’s “Marketplace.”