SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – The owners of nearly 1,000 dogs say their pets have either died or have been sickened in the past six months after eating chicken jerky treats from China. The Food and Drug Administration has logged the 900 reports since November when it warned pet owners about the problems with the products that include chicken jerky strips, treats and nuggets.
The treats have been linked to potentially fatal vomiting diarrhea and kidney failure.
The complaints about the dog treats date back to 2007, but complaints have skyrocketed in the past few months.
FDA scientists have been unable to pinpoint the specific toxin responsible for the illnesses in dogs. The agency sent inspectors to Chinese plants but results of those reviews were not yet available according to the FDA.
CBS 5 found some of those treats still available on store shelves in the Bay Area. The FDA said it can’t legally recall a product based on complaints alone.
Several pet stores said they were aware of the questions surrounding chicken jerky but stood by their brand-name products and the testing each receives. PetCO, Pet Smart, Nestle Purina and Del Monte Corp. all pointed out the FDA has not determined any link between the dog illnesses and chicken jerky products from China, nor has there been any recall by the FDA.
The warning by the FDA also notes the chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet, are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities, and that illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky.
Pet owners can submit complaints to the FDA at fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)