Petco has announced that they will stop selling dog and cat treats made in China by the end of this year after the FDA released its latest report on deaths and illnesses linked to the treats.
There have now been more than 1,000 dog deaths linked to Chinese-made chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats and more than 4,800 complaints of illnesses, the FDA says.
FDA investigators still haven't been able to figure out why pets are dying from the treats since the agency began receiving reports of illnesses in 2007.
The FDA said tests found antiviral drug amantadine in some samples of imported chicken jerky treats sold a year or more ago, but doesn't think it caused the illnesses. The FDA said it will continue to investigate.
The FDA says the breakdown of symptoms associated with the cases is similar to that of earlier reports:
- Approximately 60 percent of the cases report gastrointestinal/liver disease,
- 30 percent kidney or urinary disease, with the remaining 10 percent of complaints including various other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms.
- About 15 percent of the kidney or urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rare kidney disease that has been associated with this investigation.
The FDA continues to stress that jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet, and encourages people to consult with their veterinarians, both prior to feeding treats and if they notice symptoms in their pets.
The FDA also says manufacturers do not need to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products, so packages that do not state on the label that they are made in another country may still contain ingredients sourced from China or other countries that export to the U.S.
The signs of illness that may be associated with jerky pet treat products include decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. These signs may occur within hours to days of feeding the products.