FDA Issues Update On Jerky Investigation, But No Answers As To Why It Makes Dogs Sick

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an update today about its ongoing investigation into pet illnesses and deaths related to jerky pet treats imported from China. And even though this information includes numbers regarding the complaints of illnesses, testing findings, and measures taken by the agency to identify the cause of the illnesses and deaths, it seems like there’s still no conclusive answer or evidence as to why it’s happening.

Related: FDA Stumped After Jerky Treats Made In China Linked To Nearly 600 Pet Deaths

As of September 30, 2014, the organization received about 5,000 complaints in total of illness associated with consumption of chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats. Of these products, most are imported from China. The complaints include more than 5,800 dogs, 25 cats, three people, and more than 1,000 canine deaths. These numbers include approximately 270 complaints received since the FDA’s last update in May 2014.

Related: 5 Vet-Approved Tips For Buying Safe Dog Treats

Since the FDA’s last update, that’s 270 new cases of illness or death caused by the consumption imported jerky. On the plus side, the number of complaints is significantly down from the FDA’s previous period (October 2013 to May 2014), when the organization received 1,800 complaints.

So what can we expect from the FDA because of the reduction in complaints? The FDA is tentatively planning to shift from a biannual routine reporting cycle to issuing annual updates. However, the organization says that even though the public may not be receiving as many updates about the jerky issue, it doesn’t mean they won’t stop investigating the cause of these illnesses. This is due to the fact that the FDA believes that there is an association between complaints and consumption of jerky pet treats made in China or using ingredients sourced from China.

What can you do until we get some definitive answers? Don’t purchase any jerky, treats or dog food that is made in China or includes ingredients sourced from China. As well, you can ask your vet for recommendations or if you have any questions about the treats, jerky or food you’re feeding your dog. Lastly, if you think your dog is showing signs of illness that you suspect is related to jerky pet treats, please report it to FDA.