Veterinarians are urging caution after the Food and Drug Administration issued a request for members of the general public and their veterinarians to send any information they have if their pet has become ill after eating jerky treats.
Since 2007, the FDA says they have received reports of 3,600 dogs and 10 cats becoming ill from eating jerky treats in the U.S. Approximately 580 of those pets have died, according to the FDA.
Most of the jerky treats involved in the illnesses have been from China.
Veterinarians are encouraging people to be aware of treats made from jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit.
Or, said Dr. Crain of Rockdale Animal Hospital, "Avoid treats altogether. They are simply junk food for dogs and not nutritional sound anyway. If you must give treats, certainly avoid those made in China or jerky treats in general."
Additionally, people should take their pet to veterinarian immediately if they notice signs of lethargy, decreased activity, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption and/or increased urination.
"As always, anytime your pet is exhibiting abnormal behavior or symptoms of sickness, take him to your family veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinarian as soon as possible," said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners.
Potential jerky pet-treat related illnesses should be reported online or by calling the state FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator. The number for Georgia is 404-253-1169.