Local vet urges dog owners to avoid potentially tainted treats

The deaths of a thousand dogs, and illnesses for thousands more have been linked to tainted pet treats from China, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The tainted treats have local veterinarians and pet owners concerned, and a U.S. Senator from Ohio calling for action.

Chicken, duck, and sweet potato jerky treats from China appear to be the source of a potentially fatal toxin, said Dr. Alex Watts, veterinarian at the Miami Valley Animal Hospital in Kettering.

“But no one is absolutely positive where this toxin is coming from. Nobody is absolutely positive that it couldn’t occur with treats that are manufactured in the U.S. even. Most of the treats that were implicated, the chicken came from China,” Watts said.

Watts recommends dog owners avoid jerky treats and stick with major brands of dog food.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced he is urging the Obama Administration to investigate food processing in China to make sure its meeting U.S. safety standards for consumption.

“It’s alarming that since 2007, the FDA has been aware of the deaths and illness of thousands of pets, and we still don’t know what’s causing this problem,” Brown said.

The FDA said its investigation is ongoing and that it has met with the Chinese regulatory agency responsible for pet food to ensure they are aware of U.S. requirements.

Golden-doodle owner Cameron Bowman of Spring Valley said he was stunned to hear about the deadly dog treats.

“I was scared. Our dog is an important part of our life, and I wouldn’t want to make her sick because a treat had poison in it,” Bowman said. He added that he has stopped giving his dog treats all together.

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