Treat Mystery: Nearly 600 Pets Dead
Updated: Wednesday, October 23 2013, 08:08 AM CDT
(NBC NEWS) - Nearly 600 pets have died and more than 3,600 have been sickened in an ongoing, mysterious outbreak of illnesses tied to jerky treats made in China, federal animal health officials said Tuesday.
Most of the cases have been in dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes although 10 cats have been sickened, too after eating chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats. The pace of the reported illnesses appears to have slowed, but federal Food and Drug Administration officials are now seeking extra help from veterinarians and pet owners in solving the ongoing puzzle.
To date, testing for contaminants in jerky treats has not revealed a cause for the illnesses, Martine Hartogensis, a deputy director for the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in the new report. Despite these warnings, we have continued to receive reports of illnesses in both cats and dogs.
The new numbers are up from some 500 deaths and 3,200 illnesses tallied in January, but the rate of reports has fallen sharply since then, mostly because two of the largest sellers of pet jerky treats announced recalls tied to the presence of unapproved antibiotic residue detected in the products.
FDA officials dont think that antibiotic residue is the big problem that has stumped the agency since 2007, when pet owners started reporting their animals were suffering gastrointestinal and kidney problems after eating the popular jerky treats.
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