Three things to know about the jerky illnesses

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that there is a serial killer loose in your town. One by one, he picks little kids off from the local playground, and it’s horrible and awful. The police are working around the clock, but the killer remains elusive.

But he only ever chooses his victims from that one playground.

You wouldn’t take your kids there, right? Even if *most* of the kids who play there end up ok, even if the police chief says, well, it might be OK now? Why take that chance, when there are plenty of safe alternatives?

That’s kind of how I feel about this jerky thing. From the latest FDA update:

The agency has repeatedly issued alerts to consumers about reports it has received concerning jerky pet treat-related illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. since 2007. Approximately 580 of those pets have died.

Since 2007, guys. Keep in mind that the FDA is usually all over dog foods when there is potential human illness involved as well, but the wheels turn a little more slowly when there is no indication people are also getting sick. Regardless, I’m glad they are becoming involved- and the level in which they are asking for veterinarians and consumers to participate is much higher than I’ve seen before- but there’s no indication when we might have some answers.

jerky

There’s really only three things I’m reminding people of here:

1. It’s not just chicken

Everyone keeps focusing on chicken jerky as the culprit, but some sickened dogs have eaten duck, fruit, or sweet potato jerkies as well. Most of the treats have come from China (they aren’t saying it outright in the fact sheet, but we can read between the lines here.)

2. The symptoms are diffuse

Not every dog has the same symptoms. Some have GI signs, some have liver issues, others have renal disease. There may be one cause but it is possible we are dealing with multiple contaminants, drugs, or toxins. Which is really frightening.

3. This is 100% entirely preventable

Now that we know it’s a problem, there’s an easy solution. Don’t feed jerky treats from China. They are not a necessary part of anyone’s daily nutrition. It won’t find the culprit, but it will keep your pet safe until they do. Here are some alternatives:

  • Make your own. No special equipment required.
  • Use fresh alternatives like baby carrots or apples
  • Become obsessive about label-reading. Even some products that appear to be from the US or distributed from the US have ingredients made in China. If you’re not sure, don’t buy it.

I made this video almost two years ago, and we STILL don’t know what is going on with those jerky treats.

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

Do you know anyone whose pet was sickened from jerky?

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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