The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has continued to caution dog owners about the potential danger in chicken jerky products imported from China. Sold as chicken jerky, tenders, strips, or treats, the FDA first warned consumers about them in September 2007.
A Preliminary Animal Health Notification was then announced in December 2008. The number of complaints about these products then tapered off for 2009 and most of 2010. As of recently though, the FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints, received from dog owners and veterinarians, about dog illnesses that may be associated with the consumption of these chicken jerky products.
Chicken jerky products are meant for dogs in small quantities, on occasion, not to be a substitution for a balanced diet.
While there have been no recalls on these products, the FDA is advising consumers that choose to fed chicken jerky to their dogs to be on the lookout for the following signs: decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption, and increased urination. The signs may occur within hours to days of the dog consuming chicken jerky products. If your dog begins to exhibit these signs, stop feeding them the chicken jerky and consult your veterinarian if the signs or severe or last longer than 24 hours.
Medical problems associated with chicken jerky consumption include kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatine), as well as Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Most dogs appear to have recovered, but some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
The FDA is actively investigating the problem and its origin. They are working with several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S. to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. To date, there has not been a definitive cause for the reported illnesses determined. The illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than consuming chicken jerky.
Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
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