FDA asks for help identifying pet treats that sickened animals

This Sept. 2013 image provided by Patricia Cassidy shows her dog Doodles, while he was sick right before his Sept. 9, death, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Doodles is believed to be one of 580 dogs in the U.S. that have died in the past six years from eating pet jerky from China. Baffled by the cause and seeing another surge in illnesses, the Food and Drug Administration reached out to owners and veterinarians Tuesday to help it find the poison behind the sickening of at least 3,600 dogs and 10 cats since 2007. (AP Photo/Patricia Cassidy)

March 30, 2014 12:14:05 PM PDT
The Food and Drug Administration is asking pet owners for help after it was unable to determine why thousands of animals were getting sick from eating jerky treats, mainly manufactured in China.

The agency has spent years trying to find out why 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. were sickened by different brands of the treats since the agency first started getting complaints in 2007.

Of the thousands affected, approximately 580 animals died.

"This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine Director Bernadette Dunham said.

Some pets developed symptoms after ingesting the jerky treats and the severe cases included kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder.

The agency has conducted more than 1,200 tests including checks for Salmonella, metals, pesticides and other poisonous compounds in different brands of the treats but has been unable to decipher what is causing the infection.

The FDA is asking that anyone who suspects their pet may have gotten sick after eating tainted jerky to contact the agency immediately.