Imported Pet Treats Linked to Dog and Cat Deaths

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- Some pet treats are being linked to the deaths of hundreds of dogs and the Food and Drug Administration still can’t figure out what exactly is killing them.

“It’s very upsetting, because even though I re-homed him, he was still one of my breeding dogs so he was still my dog too.”

Pamela Burns knows what it’s like to lose a companion and she believes the death of a dog she bred was caused by jerky imported from China. Burns isn’t alone as an astonishing 3,600 outbreaks and 600 deaths since 2007 have been reported worldwide.

“Whatever is causing the problem is something we’ve never tested for, the FDA is looking to piece together the illness itself and what compounds could be causing the illness and what to test for it,” said Hillcrest Animal Hospital Associate Veterinarian Kari Kobus.

Chemicals like sorbitol, glycerin, and glycol are found in the Chinese-made treats and the FDA thinks they could be part of the problem causing symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, blood in the urine, and even kidney or liver failure.

“One of the best ways you can prevent this is by reading the package label and making sure it says made in the USA.”

That’s what one Rockford based company is doing.

“We are certified. There’s a seal on our products to guarantee everything is made here in the United States. It’s just beef, rye flour, and salt. That’s what’s in this product so it’s natural.”

The FDA is now proposing rules to make pet food safer which would focus on preventing contamination before it begins. The rules would require those who sell pet food and animal feed in the U.S. to follow certain sanitation practices.

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