FDA: Jerky treats linked to ‘mysterious outbreak’

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cat-and-dog2The Food and Drug Administration is asking pet owners for help in solving a mysterious outbreak of illnesses linked to jerky treats.

So far, about 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have gotten sick since 2007. Nearly 600 have died. The treats in question are made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit, mostly imported from China.

Officials say the exact cause of the illnesses remains unknown.

On Tuesday, the FDA issued a letter to veterinarians asking for help tracking the illnesses. The agency says there isn’t a particular brand for which customers should watch.

Pets can suffer from a decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting and diarrhea among other symptoms within hours of eating treats.

The most severe cases have involved kidney failure and bleeding of the stomach or intestines. Some pets have collapsed or suffered convulsions, officials said.

The agency urges owners of pets showing symptoms to consult a veterinarian and save any remaining treats and treat packaging for possible testing.

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