FDA searching for answers in dog treats illnesses

By Lisa Martone

MENANDS, N.Y. – The Food and Drug Administration has been looking
into pet deaths and illnesses associated to dog treats made in China since 2007, and now they are asking for help from veterinarians.

Nearly 600 dogs have died and almost 4,000 more have gotten sick
from eating jerky treats manufactured in China, but the exact cause of the
problem remains a mystery.

Veterinarian Patricia Schuster makes it a priority to keep up with
the FDA's search for the mystery ingredient.

“Pets are suffering from increased water consumption, increased
urination; those are the first symptoms of kidney failure,” she said. “Also
vomiting, lethargy; that type of thing, so I think it is important to get to the
bottom of what is going on.”

The FDA has been searching for the answer for six years, and in a
recent letter sent to veterinarians, the administration is asking them to report
all suspected cases as well as collect diet details of sick pets in hopes of finding
what is really causing these illnesses.

“If enough people are on board, we certainly should be able to
find an answer,” veterinarian Lexi Becker said. “The difficult thing is they
just don't know where the real issue is. If it is with the processing or the
storage. They have absolutely no idea.”

A variety of brand names and treats have been linked with these
illnesses, so veterinarians recommend reading labels and avoiding any treats
made in China or stick with a vet-approved diet of fruits and vegetables.

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