CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Melissa Carter is spending the final hours with her little Yorkie named Angel Baby. She picked the four-year-old dog up from her Colonial Heights veterinarian after doctors told her there was nothing more they could do.
Carter said she’s not ready to said goodbye, but she must.
Her dog is suffering from kidney failure. She received the news after she rushed Angel Baby, who was violently ill, to the vet last weekend.
Carter believes pet treats made in China led to her dog’s sickness. She said she recently fed some to Angel Baby, not knowing they were from China.
Carter shares this suspicion with her vets, who said they’ve been warning pet owners about giving animals jerky treats made in China.
We asked Dr. Margaret Metry if she believed the treats led to Angel Baby’s sickness, and she said yes.
“It’s been a year now and we’ve been telling people not to feed chicken jerky treats made in China,” Metry added.
The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating multiple brands of the pet treats since 2007. As of May 1, 2014 the regulatory agency has received more than 4,800 reports of illness affecting a total of 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, and three people.
A number of reports came from owners with multiple dogs. More than 1,000 dogs have died. There have been 1,800 new cases of illness since the last FDA report in October 2013.
The FDA said the jerky treats were almost all manufactured in China, with flavors that include chicken, duck and sweet potato. Approximately 15 percent of cases involving urinary or kidney problems tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, an uncommon kidney disease.
General symptoms of illness include decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea with blood or mucous, increased water drinking, and increased urination within hours of eating the treats.
Back in Colonial Heights, there’s nothing more vets can do for Carter’s Angel Baby.
“Angel, unfortunately is going to die. She just isn’t responding to the medicine the way we’d like her to,” Dr. Stacy Riddle said, through her tears.
It’s a heart-wrenching ending Carter doesn’t want to see happen to anyone else.
“I’m telling my story so that other people who love their animals as much as I do will check and make sure they’re not made in China and if they are giving it to them, please do not give them any more treats,” Carter said.
Recently animal supply store Petco announced they will stop carrying dog and cat treats made in China, and expect to completely phase them out by the end of the year.
The decision applies to its 1,300 store locations nationwide, making it the first major pet supplies provider to take such a step; made in “support of the health and well-being of pets.”
For now you will still need to double check the labels if purchasing treats from Petco.