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Consumer Alert: Exercise Caution With Dog Treats

The FDA says more than 2,200 pet illnesses and more than 350 pet deaths have been reported and are likely linked to chicken jerky treats, but a definitive cause has not yet been identified.

Pet illnesses and deaths from around the country and Canada may be linked to chicken dog products imported from China, though no definitive cause or specific product has been identified for recall, the FDA says.

Reports of pet illnesses have been on the rise since 2011, and have topped 2,200, with at least 360 deaths reported, almost all dogs (there has been one cat death reported).

The FDA continues to test products for biological or other contaminants, now including irradiation, but no cause has yet been found nor specific product recalled.

The FDA has an online site for reporting pet illnesses, and reminds consumers that jerky treats are not necessary for a pet's diet.

The FDA says pet owners who choose to feed their pets jerky pet treat products should watch their pets closely for the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:

Decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If your pet shows any of these signs, stop feeding the jerky pet treat product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours, as it is important that your pet receive prompt medical attention. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose).

You can keep up with the ongoing investigation on the FDA's Questions & Answers document.

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