FDA asks pet owners for help solving illnesses & deaths linked to treats

WNWO Anchor Angi Gonzalez's dog, Sophie, loves the jerky treats but has never become sick.

If you have a dog or cat that became ill after eating jerky pet treats, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would like to hear from you or your veterinarian.

The agency says it has repeatedly issued alerts concerning jerky pet treat-related illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. since 2007.

Approximately 580 of those pets have died.

To date, FDAâ??s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has conducted more than 1,200 tests, visited jerky pet treat manufacturers in China, yet the exact cause of the illnesses remains elusive.

FDA is reaching out to licensed veterinarians and pet owners across the country to gather even more information.

"This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," said CVM Director Dr. Bernadette Dunham. "Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it."

The FDA says it will cover the costs, including shipping, of any tests required.

Within hours of eating 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.

Most of the jerky treats implicated have been made in China but manufacturers of pet foods are not required, by U.S. law, to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.

You can help FDAâ??s investigation by reporting your complaints through the

Safety Reporting Portal

or your

local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator