Dear Listeners, Reader, and Viewers,
Tonight (9 PM EST), I will be discussing ongoing problems with the ever favorite jerky type meat treats available for pets. Despite their pupoluarity, since 2007, they continue to be linked to serious pet illness and even cases of death. I also will be announcing my return to live podcasting with a new twist, so please be certain to tune in and find out what exciting new changes are in store for this new season’s shows.
To offer a bit of background for this episode, please refer to the talking points below. In addition to this list of talking points for tonight’s episode, there are important links available that are relevent to this evening’s topic:
1) Pet owners and veterinarians are increasingly concerned about an on-going issue with types of dog treats. Chicken jerky treats have been implicated in severe illnesses and even deaths of some pets.
2) People like these sorts of treats for their pets because of their limited ingredient list and the fact that dogs seem to absolutely love them!
3) From 2007 to date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 2200 reports of sickness in dogs, including approximately 360 deaths. Although a single brand is not to blame, almost all reports are associated with products that are made in China.
4) Symptoms of illness include: vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Increased water consumption and increased urination are also noted in many cases.
5) Despite many warnings to the public, the treats are still available for sale and pet owners are often unaware of the dangers.
6) These treats are still on store shelves because, despite rigorous testing, a contaminant has not been found. FDA labs have ruled out bacteria, molds, heavy metals and even adulterated ingredients as the problem. Without knowing what is causing the sicknesses, the FDA cannot compel the manufacturers to recall the products.
7) Pet owners are becoming more and more vocal through social media about their concerns. Additionally, several lawsuits have been filed and the US Congress has expressed their interest in finding a resolution to this matter.
8) As with any illness, if your pet is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, please contact your family veterinarian for advice and treatment. They are your best source for factual information and are well-equipped to help make sure that your dog will receive the highest level of medical care.
9) An unfortunate fact in all of this is that many of the reports sent to the FDA are from people who have never taken their pet to the veterinarian. This is not only potentially disastrous for the dog, but also makes it difficult to truly pinpoint the problems.
10) The bottom line is that you should avoid using these treats for your pets. Try substituting carrots, green beans or even pieces of kibble from their normal diet. You can also find recipes for making your own jerky treats online.
11) In addition, veterinarians and pet owners should report any suspect cases to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints..
12) For up to date and accurate pet health information, visit the Veterinary News Network (www.MyVNN.com) and VetNewsOnline (www.VetNewsOnline.com) on Facebook.
Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website Web-DVM.net.