AVMA delegates want members to help investigate pet illnesses

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AVMA leaders joined federal authorities in calling for veterinarians’ help to investigate illnesses associated with pet foods, particularly jerky-type pet treats, which anecdotally have been suspected to be connected to the death of hundreds of dogs.

In January, the AVMA House of Delegates expressed support for veterinarians’ cooperation with the FDA in gathering information on harm associated with pet foods. The delegates did not establish an Association position, but rather, voted in favor of asking that the AVMA Executive Board encourage such cooperation.

In October 2013, the Food and Drug Administration asked for veterinarians’ help to gather information on pet illnesses and deaths potentially associated with jerky-type treats. A letter from the agency to veterinarians indicated at the time the agency had received reports that more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats had become ill from such treats and about 580 had died.

The delegates took the action after receiving a petition by AVMA members who proposed that the AVMA take a position that “jerky” treats are unnecessary for pet nutrition and that they should not be fed to pets until more safety information is available.

The delegates instead asked that the Executive Board encourage members to help protect pet health by giving the FDA information on illnesses possibly related to pet foods, including treats, and by working with the agency to protect pets through quality control of pet foods.

The FDA has asked that veterinarians report pet illnesses believed to be connected with pet foods and treats here.

Related JAVMA content:

FDA asks veterinarians to help investigate jerky treats (Dec. 1 ,2013)