FDA Calls On Veterinarians To Help With Problem Jerky Treats

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(Memphis) Pet owners have been complaining for years about their dogs getting sick and in many cases dying after eating jerky treats.

This week, the Food and Drug Administration took another step in getting to the bottom of the problem, but it still may not be enough.

Complaints to the FDA from pet owners range from vomiting and diarrhea, to renal failure and death.

The agency now confirms more than 3600 dogs and 10 cats have reportedly gotten sick, and 580 pets have died.

Some treats have been recalled and now the FDA is turning to veterinarians for help.

"We're the first line of defense when these pets come in sick," says Angie Zinkus, D.V.M. of Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital.

The FDA updated its response to the problem and released a "Dear Vet" letter earlier in the week, asking for assistance in getting to the bottom of the jerky treat crisis.

"They're asking us to submit any cases we have suspicion of, to submit case histories, a lot of times they're asking for blood samples urine samples," says Dr. Zinkus.

Dr. Zinkus says its good to have this additional line of communication from clinicians to the FDA, but the process won't be simple.

"The FDA wants us to submit samples of the treats, the ID numbers, and a lot of times these bags have been thrown out."

In the meantime, Dr. Zinkus offers this advice for pet owners, "Don't buy the jerky treats."

Instead, she encourages pet owners to give dogs snacks such as baby carrots, rice cakes or a piece of skinless, boiled chicken.

According to Dr. Zinkus, pets don't really need treats anyway.

"People as a whole love giving their pets treats, which is great, but what they really like is the attention their owners are giving them."

The FDA is encouraging consumers to use this website to report complaints about pet treats.