Toxic Treats Killing Pets; Local Vet Gives Advice

It’s the news that has pet owners consumed with concern. Popular jerky treats have been linked to severe illness in some 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in throughout the country. About 580 of those pets have died as a result of consuming the contaminated treats. The treats in question are made of chicken, duck, sweet potato and/or dried fruit.

toxic treats 3The Food and Drug Administration has launched an extensive investigation, in an effort to pinpoint the exact source of the contamination. According to the FDA website, the agency has conducted 1,200 tests and visited plants in China that manufacture the jerky treats.

At the City Vet in Oak Lawn, talk among pet owners centered on the toxic treats.

“It just brings up a concern because you trust that you buy them and you think you’re giving your dog something good,” dog owner Robert Castillo said. “It’s just a treat. It kind of makes you worry now.”

Castillo was so fearful of the FDA warning, he immediately stopped doling out any treats to his 12-year old Chihuahua.

“I just want to make sure what I’m giving him is okay to give,” Castillo said. “I don’t want him to have any issues with his stomach.”

Vet employee Kathryn Young had a near-scare upon hearing the news. She’s been giving her dogs chicken jerky treats for over a year.

“Yeah, I was scared, that’s why I threw them away,” Young said. “It’s scary that there are treats out there that could literally kill your pets.”

“Luckily, none of mine caused any problems or anything like that,” Young said with relief.

“We don’t know what could be in the jerky treats that could be causing this,” City Vet Veterinarian Dr. Meladee Farr said.

Dr. Farr has been monitoring her four-legged patients; looking for any signs associated with the illness:  vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite.  Her advice?

toxic treats 1“We just recommend that we stay away from the jerky treats in general, until a potential toxic cause has been correlated.”

Specifically, Dr. Farr suggests staying away from any treat or food that’s made in China or overseas. She said it’s safe to stick with products made in the United States or Canada.

“[China] can use other antibiotics and different chemicals to process the meat that maybe we don’t have here that our animals, once they eat it, can get sick from it.”

Dr. Farr said, to her knowledge, no jerky-related deaths have been reported in the North Texas community. So what is safe to give your pets? Try these treat alternatives: sliced apples, carrots, sugar snap peas and air-popped popcorn.


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