More complaints; more caution from FDA about chicken jerky products for dogs

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Dec 22, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
Rockville, Md. -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released another cautionary statement about possible illness risks associated with consumption of chicken jerky products by dogs.

An increase in consumer complaints is fueling the most recent health advisory, the agency reports.

"The FDA continues to caution consumers of a potential association between the development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products also described as chicken tenders, strips or treats," FDA reports in a prepared statement. "FDA continues to receive complaints of dogs experiencing illness that their owners or veterinarians associate with consumption of chicken jerky products. The chicken jerky products are imported to the U.S. from China."

Most recently, Australian news organizations report the University of Sydney is investigating an association between illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky in that country. At least one firm in Australia has recalled its Chinese-made chicken jerky product.

In the United States, FDA and several veterinary diagnostic laboratories are working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs, the agency says. "To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA has conducted extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified any contaminant."

Dog owners who feed their dogs chicken jerky products are asked to watch for any of these signs (that may occur within hours to days of feeding the product): decreased appetite (although some dogs may continue to consume the treats to the exclusion of other foods); decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea (sometimes with blood); and increased water consumption and/or increased urination.

If a dog shows these symptoms, owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose), FDA reports.

Veterinarians and consumers should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state.