Once again, we need your help about an important issue.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been actively investigating consumer complaints about jerky pet treats made in China which are causing illness in dogs and in some cats.
As of Sept. 24, 2013, more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have reportedly become ill from eating jerky pet treats.
Almost 600 have died.
The treats are sold as jerky tenders or strips and are made with chicken, duck, sweet potato, dried fruit and in combinations of these ingredients.
Product samples have been tested for contaminants known to cause the symptoms and illnesses reported in pets including Salmonella, metals, pesticides, and antibiotics and were screened for other chemicals and poisonous compounds.
Nutritional composition analyses have also been conducted to verify the presence of ingredients listed on the label. To date, none of the tests have revealed the cause of the illnesses.
We know many of your pets love these things. And we confess, WE LOVE THEM TOO!
But they are not necessary for a balanced diet, and, as much as we hate to sound like the health police, we strongly recommend that you just stop using them.
But if you do use them, watch your pet closely.
Signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products are decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and/or increased urination.
Severe cases are diagnosed with pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney failure or the resemblance of a rare kidney related illness called Fanconi syndrome.
Although the FDA has reports of more than 580 deaths, many pets have recovered.
The FDA is working with the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation Response Network (Vet-LIRN) to test samples of jerky pet treats.
The FDA recommends that pet owners whose pet becomes sick after eating jerky pet treats should hold on to any unused portion of the product in its original container for at least 60 days, in case the FDA calls to request samples for testing.
Owners should place the container inside a sealable plastic bag, if possible.
You can help the FDA’s investigation by reporting your complaints through the Safety Reporting Portal (www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov).
You can also contact the pet food/treats company (see packaging for contact information) and alert them about your pet’s illness.
On a happier note, we hope you come to the Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Celebration on November 23 from noon to 3 p.m. at the YMCA/Armory at 265 W. First St., Oswego.
Lots of pets for adoption, activities for kids, photos with Santa, a huge used book sale, holiday bake sale, art and crafts sale, and find out more about Oswego County animal organizations.
Or go to www.oswegohumane.org to see all our pets available for adoption.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone (315) 207-1070.