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Oct 28, 2013 2:30 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

Pet Owners Beware: FDA Recalls Jerky Treats for Animals

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Pet owners beware, there's still a federal health warning issued for dog owners to be cautious about feeding them certain treats. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the deaths of nearly 600 dogs and 3 thousand more that have gotten sick.

Animal Control Program Manager Heather Hedrick says feeding these guys fancy dog treats is the fast track to making them sick.

"They're under enough stress being in an animal shelter, the last thing we want to do is add to that. When you add dog treats a lot of time it upsets their stomachs causing them to have, it could be diarrhea, vomiting just causes them to have an upset stomach," Hedrick said.

Those are the same side effects listed in the latest alert issued by the FDA about the illnesses and deaths tied to jerky treats from China. Which is a scary reality for pet owners, like Bill Ralls.

"I'm glad I don't feed my dogs that. As a pet owner from anywhere in the United States, I would not feed my dogs colored treats its just not healthy for them anyway," Ralls said.

Ralls has two great danes, Duke and Harley and says even the biggest breed of dog shouldn't eat treats that aren't more natural.

"Just the plain old white colored rawhide bones that's all I give my dogs to chew on," he added.

He says rawhide bones have been the best thing for the pups since day one.

"The one Great Dane I have is almost 3 years old has never been to the veterinarian, other than his once a year check up, I have had no problems with them and I hope he stays that way as long as I feed him the right stuff," Ralls said.

If you have been feeding man's best friend jerky treats, Hedrick says best thing to do is head to the vet.

"Ultimately we ask them to contact their veterinarian we are not the experts on any type of medical issues concerning animals," she said.

Initially scientists thought an antibiotic residue in the treats was to blame. Now, the cause of death for nearly 600 pets plus thousands more sickened since 2007 remains unknown.

The FDA did not identify any particular brand name in its recall. It involves any jerky treats that were made in China. The FDA is asking vets to track and send detailed information about any animals that got sick from the jerky treats. That way they can try and identify the cause of the illnesses.

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