No one wants to receive a “Dear John” letter, but on October 22, 2013, thousands of animal doctors across the country received a “Dear Veterinarian” letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It asked the practitioners to help them solve the mystery of pet poisoning by jerky treats.
For years, the FDA has received reports that some pets became ill after consuming jerky treats, and they have conducted laboratory investigations, without success, to determine the cause. The agency has already tested 1,200 samples without discovering the exact cause of any illnesses. And the number of reported illnesses is growing. As of September 24, 2013, the FDA had been advised of 3,600 dogs and 10 cats who were sickened, apparently by the treats; 580 of these pets died.
A New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing study found low levels of antibiotic residues in some jerky pet treats, and several well-known brands were subsequently removed from the market in January 2013. The FDA is doing its own evaluation to determine the possibility that low levels of antibiotics can cause illness in dogs when fed over a length of time. But this is just one potential cause they are investigating.