The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning consumers about a potential association between the development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products, according to a Sept. 26 statement.
Prior to the FDA statement, the AVMA had warned that some veterinarians believed certain jerky treats could be causing illness in dogs (see JAVMA, Oct. 15, 2007, page 1183).
As of Sept. 26, the FDA had received more than 70 complaints involving more than 95 dogs that experienced illness that their owners associated with consumption of chicken jerky products. The agency also had received preliminary information from Banfield, The Pet Hospital, suggesting an association between exposure to the chicken jerky products and signs of gastrointestinal tract illness.
The FDA has conducted extensive testing of the products but had not identified any contaminants as of Sept. 26.
According to the FDA statement, dogs that have become ill typically have some or all of these signs: anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and polydipsia/polyuria. Signs of illness may occur within hours to days of feeding the product. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure, and urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome. Most dogs have recovered, but some reports involve dogs that died.
The FDA continues to investigate the situation. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine has posted an informational document at www.acvim.org. The AVMA is providing updates at www.avma.org.
Veterinarians who suspect a problem with a pet food should contact the FDA. Contact information is at www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html.