TAMPA - Mary Markim smiles every time she hears her barking dogs. But, Mary wonders if it will last.
"I am very concerned because I don't know tomorrow if she is going to be here and I am trying everything I can to save her," says Mary.
Mary says all four of her dogs became sick after eating chicken jerky treats from China.
Three recovered. Chelsea is still struggling.
"Tests show the pancreas is not functioning properly," says Mary.
More than two thousand people complained about Chinese-made dog treats to the Food and Drug Administration in the last five years. In just the last 18 months, 360 dogs and one cat were reported dead.
The agency released a few hundred of the complaints: dog owners report vomiting, lost kidney function, and lethargy. According to documents, Waggin' Train had the most complaints. Milo's Kitchen and Kingdom Pets were also listed repeatedly.
The three companies say their treats are safe. Some have even done independent testing.
"It concerns me they have not found a cause there," says Dr. Shawna Green of Medicine River Animal Hospital in Madeira Beach.
Dr. Green feels pet owners may be scared because so many animals got sick or died during a recall of the melamine-contaminated pet food in 2007. It also had links to China. Still she's suspicious after treating two dogs this time around.
"Two with definite links where we removed the treats from their diet they returned to normal," says Dr. Green.
The FDA hasn't been able to figure it out after five years of testing and a visit to China.
Waggin' Train put a video of its Chinese plant on its website to show consumers the steps it takes to make its jerky. The government inspected five Chinese plants -- but won't say which brands are made at those plants.
The FDA tried to take samples back to the U.S. for testing but the Chinese government wouldn't allow it.
The watchdog group, Food and Water Watch, believes the FDA should do more.
Since 2003, the Chinese have been trying to send poultry products to the U.S. for human consumption. Congress and the USDA blocked those imports over food safety concerns. Since then, we've seen an 85 fold increase in pet food from China including jerky treats.
The FDA even acknowledges this trend on its website.
Click the links below for more on the inspection reports:
FDA Inspection Report from Shandong Honva Food Co - China
FDA Inspection Report from Gambol Pet Products Co - China
FDA Inspection Report from Jinan Uniwell Pet Food Co - China
FDA Inspection Report from Shandong Petswell Food Co - China
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