Nearly 600 pets dead; still no source, FDA says: Jerky Treat Mystery
courtesy the Mawaka family
Toby, a 6-year-old Boston terrier, died in 2012 after his owners say he
was sickened by chicken jerky pet treats made in China.
From the Dog Channel to the stories being shared across the Internet, there is no clue yet in solving this problem. But who do they name as the main culprit? CHINA! And I'll tell you why and what will be done about this mess further down in this article.
Some news reported by the Dog Channel (and other reports out there)
"Most of the pet illnesses reportedly involved chicken jerky, but
advisories were extended last year to duck and sweet potato jerky
treats. Jerky-wrapped rawhide and jerky paired with dried fruit or yams
have been flagged as well.
The testing of more than 1,000 jerky samples over the past two years has
looked for the presence of everything from pesticides and mycotoxins to
irradiation markers and toxic metals.
"Testing has also included measuring the nutritional composition of
jerky pet treats to verify that they contain the ingredients listed on
the label and do not contain [other] ingredients,” the FDA stated.
The agency stopped short of advising consumers to eliminate jerky from their pets’ diet.
"Jerky pet treats should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are
intended to be fed only occasionally and in small quantities,” the FDA
The agency asked veterinarians who suspect a jerky-related illness to
document it on the FDA Safety Reporting Portal and possibly provide
samples to the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network
The agency recommended that veterinarians who submit a case conduct a
routine urinalysis after freezing a subsample of 10 milliliters. In
addition, veterinarians who suspect liver or kidney injury should obtain
routine blood work for possible FDA investigation."
"The jerky was sold as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck,
sweet potatoes or dried fruit. Most of the treats were made in China.
The FDA said the illnesses have been linked to many brand names of
the jerky (none of which it named) and most commonly involve chicken or
duck jerky treat or jerky-wrapped treats.
The FDA did not list brand names of the jerky or names of stores that may have sold the treats. The agency said there doesn't appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports.
Within hours of eating the jerky, some pets exhibited decreased
appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood
or mucus), increased water consumption and/or increased urination, the
The illnesses involve many sizes and ages of dogs and multiple breeds, the FDA said.
Severe cases have involved kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding
and a rare kidney disorder. About 60% of cases involved gastrointestinal
illness, and about 30% involved kidney and urinary systems. The
remaining 10% of cases reported various symptoms, such as collapse,
convulsions, tremors, hives and skin irritation.
Since 2011, the FDA has tested more than 1,200 jerky pet samples for a
variety of chemical and microbiological contaminants that may cause the
illnesses reported in pets, from antibiotics to metals, pesticides and
"To date, none of the tests have revealed the cause of the illnesses," the FDA said."
The agency did inspect facilities in China that manufacture jerky
products associated with some of the highest numbers of pet illness
reports, but that did not identify the cause of illness."