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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an update today on its ongoing investigation into pet illnesses and deaths in animals that ate jerky pet treats. This update includes the latest information about complaints of illnesses, testing findings, and measures taken by the agency to identify the cause of the illnesses and deaths.

As of September 30, 2014, the FDA has received approximately 5,000 complaints of illness associated with consumption of chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, most of which involve products imported from China. The reports involve more than 5800 dogs, 25 cats, three people, and include more than 1,000 canine deaths.

These numbers include approximately 270 complaints received since the FDA’s last update in May 2014. This is a significant decrease from the previous period (October 2013 to May 2014), in which the FDA had received 1,800 complaints.

Because of the sharp reduction in complaints, the FDA is tentatively planning to shift from a biannual routine reporting cycle to issuing annual updates. This shift in reporting cycles does not mean that the FDA is reducing its effort to investigate the cause of these illnesses: the agency continues to devote significant resources to its investigation, and will post non-routine updates if notable events occur.

Although it is impossible to determine in every case whether the events reported were in fact caused by eating jerky pet treats, the FDA continues to believe that there is an association between some of the reports and consumption of jerky pet treats.

The agency continues to caution pet owners that jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet, and encourage them to consult with their veterinarians, both prior to feeding treats and if they notice symptoms in their pets.

The FDA continues to devote significant resources to this investigation and to work with its Vet-LIRN partners to gather and analyze new information as it becomes available. If your pet has experienced signs of illness that you suspect is related to jerky pet treats, please report it to FDA. While FDA does not necessarily respond to every individual complaint submitted, each report is valuable and becomes part of the body of knowledge that helps to inform our investigation.

Additional Information

 

Last rodeo on Vancouver Island is cancelled

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) and Victoria Citizens Against Rodeo Events (VCARE) are claiming victory after news that the Luxton Rodeo in Langford, near Victoria, has been cancelled.

VHS-Luxton-Rodeo-Cancelled

The animal protection groups had campaigned for three years to end cruel rodeo events, receiving considerable local and regional support. A number of the rodeo’s sponsors had dropped out as a result of the campaign.

“It’s a great victory for animal welfare,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “It’s a tribute to the progressive and compassionate people of Vancouver Island.”

VCARE Organizer Melissa de Meulles said “No matter what the reason for the cancellation, this is one less ‎rodeo stop for the animals and hopefully the first of many rodeos to close down. Our community can be proud it spoke loudly and stood up for animals.”

The cancellation of the Luxton Rodeo is the second blow to the rodeo industry in recent years.  In 2007, after a long campaign by VHS, the Cloverdale Rodeo announced that it would discontinue four key events: calf-roping, steer-wrestling, team-roping and wild cow milking. VHS also convinced the City of Vancouver to ban rodeos in 2006.

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, marks February as Pet Dental Health Month by reminding pet parents about the importance of regular dental care for their four-legged family members. In 2014, VPI policyholders spent more than $12.2 million on dental conditions and procedures, the fourth most common type of claim submitted to the company last year and an eight percent increase from the previous year.

Toothbrush:Paste

Preventive oral care is not only necessary for pets, it’s a financially sound choice for pet owners. In 2014, the average claim amount for pet teeth cleaning was $171. In contrast, the average claim amount for treating dental-related disease was $212. Periodontal disease, a condition caused by residual food, bacteria and tartar that collect in the spaces between the gum and tooth, accounted for the most dental claims received by VPI last year— more than 26,800. Tooth infections, inclusive of cavities and abscesses, accounted for the second most common dental-related claims, totaling more than 14,200. Infections of the teeth are typically the result of untreated tooth decay, cracked or fractured teeth, or severe periodontal disease.

Poor dental care can also be linked to severe health issues and shorter lifespans in dogs and cats. The bacteria associated with tartar buildup and periodontal disease can contribute to heart, liver and kidney problems.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), an organization dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three. VPI encourages pet parents to have their pets’ oral health evaluated bi-annually by a veterinarian.

“Regular veterinary examinations are critical because they include an oral health and dental evaluation, just like when we go to the dentist,” says Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “To help off-set the costs of preventive oral care, VPI offer’s Everyday Care plans that help cover procedures like dental cleaning.  Your veterinarian may also recommend brushing your pets’ teeth between veterinary visits, with the goal of preventing a buildup of tartar along your pets’ gum line. Tartar can lead to inflammation or pain when the gums or mouth are touched, even during the simple process of eating.”

The AVMA’s list of signs that dental disease has already started in a dog or cat includes:

  • Red swollen gums or brownish-yellow tartar on teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Frequent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth
  • Reluctance to eat – for example, picking it up and then spitting it out

Pet Dental Health Fast Facts:

Dogs

  • Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that begin to show at about 3 to 4 weeks of age
  • They have 42 permanent teeth that generally grow in between 5 to 7 months of age
  • Periodontal disease is the most common dental issue among dogs

Cats

  • Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to show at about 2 to 3 weeks of age
  • They have 30 permanent teeth that generally grow in by 5 to 6 months of age
  • Other dental issues that are common in cats include tooth resorption and ulcerative stomatitis

Grill-Phoria LLC of Loveland, Colorado is recalling approximately 200, 3.5 oz bags of Big Bark All Natural Beef Jerky Treats for Dogs because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. These bags were distributed and manufactured between September 20, 2014 through January 2, 2015, and do not have lot codes.

grill-phoria

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. Most people recover from salmonellosis in four to seven days without treatment, but some groups are at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms. These high-risk groups are: children under 5 years of age, the elderly, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Big Bark All Natural Beef Jerky Treats for Dogswas distributed in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Oklahoma through Nor-Sky Pet Supply LLC through independent pet stores. The product is under the Big Bark label and is in a standup pouch that is 3.5 oz in weight labeled as All Natural Beef Jerky Treat. No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall is a result of a routine sampling program by the Colorado Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished tested positive for Salmonella. Grill-Phoria has ceased the production and distribution of the product as the company continues their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased Big Bark All Natural Beef Jerky Treats for Dogs (3.5 oz Bag) are urged to return the bag to the store that you purchased it from and get a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Grill-Phoria at between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (MST) Monday through Friday at 970-663-4561.

J.J. Fuds in Valparaiso, IN is recalling a select lot and product of J.J. Fuds Chicken Tender Chunks Pet Food because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeriainfection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Animals’ ill with Listeria will display symptoms similar to the ones listed above for humans. People who have concerns about whether their pet hasListeria should contact their veterinarian.

JJ Fuds Inc Front Label

The recalled product was distributed regionally in MinnesotaWisconsinMichiganIndiana and Illinois to wholesale and retail customers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (manufactured date) and UPC code printed on the back of the individual plastic bag or on the master case label. This product is a frozen raw poultry product (see Safe Handling Instructions on package) and has a shelf life of one year if kept frozen.

The recalled product is as follows:

J. J. Fuds Premium Natural Blends, Chicken Tender Chunks
All 5 lb. bags with:
Product UPC Number: 654592-345935
Manufacture/Lot Code Date: 5/5/14

The recall was a result of a routine sampling program by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development resulting in a positive test for Listeria monocytogenes. The company has not received any reports of dogs experiencing nausea and diarrhea that may be associated with these specific products. The company has received no reports of human illness as a result of these products.

J.J. Fuds, Inc. will immediately start working with distributors and retailers to properly dispose of any affected product left on freezer shelves. The company will also be working with distributors and retailers to recall this product from pet owners to ensure the proper disposal of any affected product that has been purchased.

J.J.Fuds is issuing this action out of an abundance of caution and sincerely regrets any inconvenience to pet owners as a result of this announcement.

The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should return to retailer for a refund and proper disposal.

For further information or questions regarding this recall, please contact us at jjfuds.com or by phone at 888-435-5873 Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM CST.

American television icon Bob Barker, best known for hosting CBS’s The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007, has teamed up with Cruelty Free International to call for an end to cosmetics testing on animals in the United States.

BB and Federico

Bob Barker said, “Testing cosmetics on animals is a cruel, outdated, and unnecessary practice. Our nations largest trading partner, the European Union, has banned the sale of animal tested cosmetics and proven it is possible to produce safe cosmetics without harming animals. I am proud to join Cruelty Free International in urging the United States to end cosmetics testing on animals.

Countless animals suffer in unnecessary outdated and cruel tests for cosmetics. Despite modern alternatives to animal testing becoming increasingly less expensive, faster, and more accurate at predicting human reactions than the antiquated animal tests they replace, there is no national law in place to limit animal testing for cosmetics in the United States.

Ending cosmetics testing on animals in the United States would match progress made elsewhere; the European Union, NorwayIsrael and India which have testing bans in place. Additionally, BrazilNew Zealand and South Korea recently made significant strides toward ending animal testing via legislation or policy decisions. Prohibiting animal testing for cosmetics would also reflect the interests of US consumers who, multiple polls show, support ending cosmetic testing on animals.

Cruelty Free International Logo

Cruelty Free International, CEO, Michelle Thew, said: We are thrilled to have Bob Barker supporting our efforts to see the United States match the progress we have made around the world in ending the use of animals in cosmetics tests. Mr. Barker clearly understands that when one considers the cost in animal lives for cruel cosmetics tests, the price is wrong.”

Cruelty Free International is the only organization solely campaigning for a global ban on animal cosmetics testing.  With offices in the UK, US, Brazil and Asia, it works with governments, regulators, companies and partner organizations worldwide and has placed the issue of animal testing on the agenda of many governments for the very first time.

Other celebrities to support Cruelty Free International include, Ricky GervaisPeter DinklageNorman Reedus, Sir Paul McCartney, Mayim Bialik, Kunal NayyarLori SingerAlicia SilverstoneVanessa Marano and Ashley Bell.

A family’s nonprofit rescue operation for giant-breed dogs won a major ruling Wednesday from the Commonwealth Court that prevents a New Sewickley Townshipfrom using zoning codes to close the shelter and spares more than 20 dogs from likely euthanasia.

Owners Richard and Noreen Kohl can keep Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Dog Rescue open thanks to pro bono representation from McGuireWoods. The firm defended the Kohls against complaints of a neighbor and the township’s claim that Gentle Ben’s is a commercial kennel operating in a residential area in violation of zoning codes.

“This ruling establishes the very important principle that municipalities cannot classify non-profit rescues as kennels and zone them out of communities where they are providing such a critical need,” said Matt Monsour, an associate in McGuireWoods’ Pittsburgh office who represented the family.

“In Pennsylvania, non-profit rescues can now do what they do best: save neglected, unwanted, and abused dogs without fear that their good deeds will subject them to the kennel bar,” said Monsour, whose commercial litigation practice ranges from counseling clients in amicable dispute resolutions to lawsuits in federal and state courts nationwide.

The Kohls had operated a rescue for 20-40 dogs typically of 100 pounds or more on their fenced-in property for 11 years. They are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as a nonprofit kennel, dependent on donations and adoption fees to cover expenses.

The case dates to September 2012 when William and Barbara Layton, neighbors living adjacent to Gentle Ben’s, complained of barking dogs on the Kohls’ two-acre property. A zoning officer told the applicants that a kennel was not a permitted use under township zoning regulations.

In December 2012, they sought a variance from the township’s Zoning Hearing Board to run a nonprofit dog rescue shelter. In 2013, after January and March hearings, the board ruled in April that although the rescue service was commendable, it was an unpermitted kennel and declined to grant a variance.

The Kohls appealed to Beaver County Common Pleas Court, which found that Gentle Gen’s was a nonprofit that realized no economic gain for its owners, was not a commercial kennel for zoning purposes and reversed the zoning board’s ruling. The Laytons appealed and the Commonwealth Court’s three judges on Wednesday affirmed the lower court decision, rejecting the Laytons’ argument that the trial court’s definition of a kennel was too narrow.

McGuireWoods LLP is a leading international law firm with nearly 1,000 lawyers in 20 offices worldwide. For more information, visit www.mcguirewoods.com. Its full-service public affairs arm, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, offers infrastructure and economic development, strategic communications and grassroots, and government relations solutions.

Oma’s Pride of Avon, CT is recalling Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal because it has the potential to be contaminated with SalmonellaSalmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

omas-purr

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal was distributed nationwide through retail stores, distributors, and directly to consumers. Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal is sold frozen.  It is packaged in clear 12 oz. (UPC: 8 79384 00017 9) and 2 lb. (UPC: 8 79384 00018 6) plastic packaging under the Oma’s Pride brand as a poultry blend with code #1524.  It was manufactured on September 12, 2014 with a use by recommended date of September 12, 2015.

There have been no illnesses reported to date.

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development resulting in a positive test for Salmonella. Oma’s Pride has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Oma’s Pride Monday through Friday, 9:00am – 4:30pm, at 1-800-678-6627.

Therapy dogs may improve the emotional well-being of some cancer patients, according to results of a clinical study, the first to document the benefits of animal-assisted therapy in adult cancer patients. The research was made available this week in the Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology.

The study, conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, found that patients receiving intensive multi-modal concomitant radiation therapy and chemotherapy for gastrointestinal, head or neck cancers experienced increases in emotional well-being and quality of life when they received visits from a certified therapy dog during the course of their treatment. Increases in emotional well-being were significant over the course of the animal-assisted visits, even as patients underwent marked and significant declines in both physical and functional well-being. The research was supported by The Good Dog Foundation, the leading provider of professionally trained, fully certified and supervised volunteer therapy dog teams; Zoetis, a leading global animal health company; and the Pfizer Foundation.

“This study is the first such definitive study in cancer, and it highlights the merits of animal- assisted visits using the same scientific standards as we hold for the cancer treatment itself. It shows the importance of an innovative environmental intervention during cancer treatment,” said Stewart B. Fleishman, MD, principal investigator and Founding Director of Cancer Supportive Services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. “Having an animal-assisted visit significantly improved their quality of life and ‘humanized’ a high-tech treatment,” he said. “Patients said they would have stopped their treatments before completion, except for the presence of the certified Good Dog Foundation therapy dog and volunteer handler.”

An Emerging Role for Animal-Assisted Therapy

Identification of a creative tool to boost patients’ emotional state, especially in face of the high symptom burden for patients receiving concurrent radiation therapy and chemotherapy, underscored the value of an intervention that can be offered in cancer centers nationally and internationally.

“Thanks to this rigorously designed study, we now have strong evidence that pet therapy is an effective tool to help cancer patients get through challenging treatments,” said Gabriel A. Sara, MD, Medical Director, Infusion Suite at Mount Sinai Roosevelt, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“There is mounting evidence in human and veterinary medicine that the emotional bond between people and companion animals can have a positive impact of emotional and physical health,” said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, Zoetis group director of Companion Animal Veterinary Operations.  “These new results help advance our understanding of the value of animal-assisted therapy in cancer treatment and point to the ways the oncology and animal health communities can work together in supporting cancer patients achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.”

Rachel McPherson, Executive Director and Founder of The Good Dog Foundation added: “We are excited to see the results of this peer-reviewed study, which bears out scientifically what we have seen for more than sixteen years at The Good Dog Foundation, which is that highly trained and fully certified therapy dogs can provide critical healing services to help change cancer patients’ experiences for the better as they receive treatment.”

Study Details

The study assessed the impact of certified therapy animal-assisted visits on quality of life during multi-modal treatment for head and neck and gastrointestinal cancers using a validated and reliable quality of life assessment routinely used in cancer clinical trials.

Forty-two adult patients were enrolled and 37 patients (25 male; 12 female) completed the six- week study, receiving daily 15-to-20-minute animal-assisted visits. The patients had aggressive cancers in the head and neck, and chose rigorous combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy in advance of a smaller than otherwise planned surgery.

Many traveled to Mount Sinai Beth Israel for 30 radiation therapy treatments in addition to scheduled chemotherapy. They were extremely fatigued, frightened and lost weight vital to maintain their strength. Many had feeding tubes, lots of mucus in the mouth and throat and temporarily lost their senses of smell and taste.

Assessments included FACT-G scale were made at baseline, week 3, and end of therapy (7 weeks). Satisfaction with assisted animal visit (AAV) Intervention assessed ability to withstand treatment, lingering effect of AAV after treatment and perception of social support.

The 37 patients completed at least baseline and one follow-up assessment for a single group analysis of change over time. Patients underwent marked and significant declines in terms of both physical well- being (overall p < 0.001) and functional well-being (overall p = 0.003).

A similar decline in emotional well-being over that period would have been expected with the cumulative side-effect burdens of treatment. Instead, social well-being showed an increase (overall p = 0.03; p baseline versus week 3 = 0.02; baseline versus week 7, p = 0.04).The means for emotional well-being also showed small increases over time, which were not significant when time was analyzed by itself.  After controlling for declines in physical well-being at each time point, the increases in emotional well-being were both statistically significant (overall p- value = 0.004) and clinically meaningful.

Barkworthies of Richmond, VA is recalling select lots of Barkworthies Chicken Vittles dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with SalmonellaSalmonellacan affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide beginning on May 6th, 2014. The product can be identified by the Lot Code printed on the backside of the plastic pouch or on the bottom. This product is being recalled as it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

BARKWORTHIES CHICKEN VITTLES
Lot Code: 1254T1
Size: 16 oz. Plastic Pouch
Best Used by Date: May 2016
UPC: 816807011510

The recall was initiated after routine testing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella in a single lot of the product. This batch tested negative by a third party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers. No additional products are affected by this recall. The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with these products to date.

The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. For a full refund, pet owners should return all unused product to their place of purchase along with a completed Product Recall Claim Form available on the Barkworthies website www.barkworthies.com/recall.

More information on the recall can also be found at www.barkworthies.com/recall, or call toll free (877) 993-4257 Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST).

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