SPARKS, Nev. -- It's a scary treat for man's best friend, the FDA says a popular dog treat is making dogs sick or even worse, causing death. The agency says new research links those treats to more than 600 dog deaths in the past six years.
They're popular treats among dogs, but they can also be deadly. Since 2007, jerky treats have made more than 3,600 dogs and at least 10 cats sick.
"Nobody knows what's toxic and that's why nothing has been removed from the market," Dr. Cal Williams, veterinarian of Pyramid Veterinary Hospital said.
Veterinarians say they've been receiving dozens of calls each day from concerned pet owners, but no case has been reported locally because the symptoms are so vague.
"There's just no specific signs," Dr. Ben Davidson of Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital said. "We see them for so many different reasons. we can't tell people 'oh yeah you're dog didn't eat today, I'm sure it's this, get them in.'"
Pet owners can usually spot out the symptoms just a few hours after their pets eat the treats. Some of those signs include nausea, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
The Food and Drug Administration found that most of these products were made in China, but that doesn't rule out much.
"A manufacturer in the united states is not required to report where their ingredients come from, so that is possible that you can get something made in the U.S. that has Chinese ingredients in it that could be toxic," Dr. Williams said.
More than 1,200 samples have been tested, but scientists still can't pinpoint what's making these pets sick.
"If your dog does get sick, don't throw the treats away, bring them in with your dog and those can be tested by the FDA," he adds.
The FDA sent a letter to veterinarians nationwide to provide a urine sample and blood work from all sick pets that have eaten the treats.
"Your dog doesn't need those at all," he said. "In fact, your dog doesn't need any treats, it's more of a human thing."
The FDA has not recalled any specific products, but Nestle Purina, Canyon Creek, and Corp's Milo's have voluntarily recalled their treats until investigators get to the bottom of the problem.
For more information about this investigation, visit the website below.