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Updated Oct 23, 2013 - 6:42 am

FDA still struggling to solve mysterious pet deaths

PHOENIX -- The FDA is asking for the public's help in solving a mystery that has left them stumped for years.

The agency is looking for pet owners who have fed their dog or cat jerky treats made in China and as a result, their animal has fallen ill or died.

Since 2007, there have been 3,600 cases of illness, resulting in 600 pet deaths.

"We don't know. That's why we are enlisting the help of licensed veterinary practitioners and consumers through a letter we sent out today asking for help or more information," said FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess.

According to Burgess, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has "conducted more than 1,200 tests, visited jerky pet treat manufacturers in China and collaborated with colleagues in academia, industry, state labs and foreign governments, yet the exact cause of the illnesses remains elusive."

The FDA reports that within hours of eating the treats, sold as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit, some pets have exhibited decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption and/or increased urination. Severe cases have involved kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding and a rare kidney disorder.

About 60 percent of cases involved gastrointestinal illness and about 30 percent involved kidney and urinary systems. The remaining cases reported various symptoms, such as collapse, convulsions or skin issues.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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