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Since January 1st, 2012, FDA has received 184 reports of pets who became ill after being fed chicken jerky dog treats. That’s on top of the 353 reports lodged with the federal agency in calendar year 2011, according to information provided  to eFoodAlert by FDA Spokesperson Laura Alvey.

Most of the 2011 reports – 283 of them – were filed after FDA issued an updated warning to dog owners on November 18th, 2011.

As I reported last November, FDA continues to warn pet owners that chicken jerky products imported from China may be associated with the development of Fanconi-like syndrome in dogs who eat the treats on a regular basis. Similar problems have been reported in Canada, according to the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association.

Unfortunately, neither FDA nor the Canadians have been able to identify an ingredient or contaminant in the chicken jerky dog treats that would account for the illnesses. “Testing is ongoing,” Alvey reported to me yesterday by email. “We have tested samples from all over the country for microbial pathogens (salmonella) and chemical toxicants and so far, nothing has come back positive,” she added.

FDA is encouraging consumers to submit illness-linked samples of pet treats to them for analysis. “[w]e would most certainly want to try to obtain a sample of a consumer’s pet product if they still had it and they were reporting it in association with a pet illness to the FDA,” Alvey stated.

Unfortunately, unless and until FDA can determine the presence of an adulterant (microbiological or chemical) in the pet treats, the agency is unable to request a recall. As always, suspects – including pet treats – are innocent until proven guilty.

Mollie Morrissette has been following this story closely, and has written several informative articles, which can be found on her Poisoned Pets blog site.

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