SARASOTA---The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that 600 dogs in the United States have died, and more than 3600 have become ill after eating jerky treats imported from China since 2007.
"The numbers are staggering," said Dr. Ronni Tudin, a veterinarian in Sarasota.
Tudin says he has handled several of the cases. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases kidney failure.
"It really is a pity. It's something that can be totally avoided. We feed our dogs and we look after them, and here we are feeding them something not good and toxic," said Tudin.
The jerky treats are those made of chicken, duck, sweet potato, dried fruits, or a combination of all. Scientist still cannot pinpoint the mysterious ingredient causing the animals to get sick.
One way of avoiding potential heartbreak is to buy American says Cheryl Keenan, the owner of Pawprint Essentials in Venice. At her store, Keenan refuses to sell any dog food product made in China.
"It's unfortunate that pets have died and are sick. Today is going to be a realization to everyone that you need to be an advocate for your pet," she said.
The FDA is asking that anyone whose pet has become sick as a result of eating the tampered treats get in contact with them at: