PERRY Co., Ky. (WYMT) - Once in a while, our furry friends deserve a treat. However, officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say when it comes to jerky treats proceed with caution.
As of late September, FDA representatives say more than 3,000 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. have become ill as a result of jerky pet treats.
The organization's consumer report includes more than 500 deaths since 2007.
Officials are unsure what is causing the problem.
Appalachian Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. William Hagans said he wants to raise consumer awareness.
Dr. Hagans said lethargy, loss of appetite and diarrhea are just three symptoms of the unknown illness.
"They haven't isolated exactly what's causing it," said Dr. Hagans. "They're putting the warning out so if people are using these type of treats they need to be aware of the possible symptoms and problems."
Dr. Hagans said if it is jerky avoid it.
"People should be worried and they should be concerned," Dr. Hagans said. "It could also cause kidney problems and things that could be more sever and sometimes fatal."
If you feel compelled to give your four-legged companions a snack Dr. Hagans said consistency, not variety, is key.
"When they come through the door sick, and we ask the owner what they are eating, and they give me a laundry list of things it makes it very difficult to identify what's causing the problem," Dr. Hagans said.
Officials believe a majority of the jerky treats were made in China.
Pet food manufactures in the United States are not required by law to name the country in which ingredients are made.
For the FDA's complete fact sheet check out their website.