Jerky treats tied to serious health problems for pets - WSMV Channel 4

Jerky treats tied to serious health problems for pets

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Pet treats designed to show affection seem to be doing a lot of damage and have a Nashville veterinarian urging owners to take action.

It all centers on a certain type of dog treat now linked to hundreds of deaths.

A top researcher at the Food and Drug Administration calls it one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks ever.

The problem is not biscuits, nor bones but jerky.

Researchers linked jerky treats to illnesses in 3,600 dogs since 2007. About 580 of those have died.

"We don't know what's causing the problem," said Dr. Joanna Fry, with Nashville Veterinary Specialists.

Katie Rogers said she first started noticing signs of trouble with her dog, Miles, this summer.

"I knew that something wasn't right and wasn't adding up," she said. "I started researching it, and story after story after story was coming up."

Symptoms in most affected dogs include decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting and diarrhea.

About 30 percent of pets will develop kidney failure, and about five percent of those develop a rare disorder.

Testing could soon confirm that in Miles.

"His kidneys, unfortunately, have shut down," Fry said. "It's very disheartening for the owners. And it's hard, because you don't want them to feel that they did anything to impact their pet's quality of life."

All of this seems to center on treats made in China.

The problem is even those made in the U.S. don't have to disclose where ingredients came from, and that might pose the problem.

Two pieces of advice from Dr. Fry: stop using jerky treats immediately, and if you've previously used them, have your pet checked out, especially their urine. Glucose showing up in a sample can be an early sign of trouble.

For more information on the jerky treat warning, visit: http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm295445.htm.

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