Second Chance: Pet Food Recalls & Safety
For those who have not yet heard about the January recall of various jerky pet treats (sold as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit), we recommend you avoid those treats. Disturbingly, exactly what caused 3,600 pets to become ill and 600 to die (January tally) remains a mystery.
The treats have been linked to products manufactured in China and some have been removed from the market, but since manufacturers of pet foods are not required by U.S. law to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their products, it is best to avoid these treats for now.
Symptoms that result from eating the tainted treats vary from mild to severe. About 60 percent of cases involve gastrointestinal illness, and about 30 percent implicate the kidney and urinary systems. Any changes to your dog’s behavior after consuming treats should be reported immediately to your veterinarian.
Most of the reported cases have been in dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes – although 10 cats have been sickened too. Fortunately the pace of the reported illnesses appears to have slowed, but the FDA believes that is simply due to fewer jerky treats now available on the market.
“To date, testing (more than 1,200 tests so far) for contaminants in jerky treats has not revealed a cause for the illnesses,” Martine Hartogensis, a deputy director for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), said in the new report. “And, despite warnings, we have continued to receive reports of illnesses in both cats and dogs.”
FDA’s CVM has visited jerky pet treat manufacturers in China and collaborated with colleagues in academia, industry, state labs and foreign governments. Yet, as we stated above, the exact cause of the illnesses remains an open question.
“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D.
To best protect pets from future incidents like this make sure you regularly read the FDA advisories on recalled pet food and treats: http://www.fda.gov/animalVeterinary/safetyhealth/recallswithdrawals/default.htm.
And if your pet does ever become ill from pet treats or pet food make sure you file a complaint with the FDA so other pets can be protected.
And on a lighter note (pun intended), there is me, Marshmallow – light as a feather and oh so cute. I arrived at Second Chance a few weeks ago hairless and miserable. I had some sort of temporary immune response to my stressful life before I was rescued. But with some TLC and a happy environment my hair has all grown back and I intend to keep it – assuming my new family treats me as well as my friends at the shelter. I am a 5-6 month young Chihuahua, although not the barky kind. I am remarkably non-vocal , but love to dance about and express my zest for life .
And my friend Felipe is the cat of the week! Felipe is only a few months old and has kept all his hair intact. He asked me to spread the word that he would love to be your Valentine and will warm your heart much longer than chocolate and flowers. As nice as they are, they don’t purrrr….
Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.
By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org