In an alert dated today, the FDA is warning consumers about chicken jerky products for dogs:
The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning consumers of a potential association between development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products also described as chicken tenders, strips or treats. FDA has received more than 70 complaints involving more than 95 dogs that experienced illness that their owners associated with consumption of chicken jerky products.
To date, FDA has not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA has conducted extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified any contaminant. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky.
FDA has also received preliminary information from Banfield, The Pet Hospital which suggests an association between exposure to the chicken jerky products and signs of gastrointestinal illness (vomiting, diarrhea and bloody diarrhea).
Dogs that have become ill, typically show the following signs: decreased food consumption, although some may continue to consume the treats to the exclusion of other foods; decreased activity or lethargy; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; and increased water consumption and/or increased urination. Some or all of these signs may be present in any individual. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch the dogs closely for any signs of decreased appetite, decreased activity, increased water consumption, increased urination, vomiting and/or diarrhea; and, if the dog shows any of these signs, to discontinue feeding the chicken jerky product. The signs of illness may occur within hours to days of feeding the product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours.
Chicken treat products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be used occasionally in small quantities.
The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem. Consumers who wish to report animal illness, please see http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html for contact information on the FDA complaint coordinator in their state.