The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning telling pet owners not to buy pet treats or other food products that are made in China.
Something in them could be linked to what is causing severe illness and even death in both dogs and cats.
Experts believe the illness is causing internal bleeding, kidney failure and in some cases death. The investigation into this started almost 7 years ago, but it's still unclear what exactly is making these pets sick.
The FDA has received nearly four thousand reports of sick cats and dogs dating back to 2007. Close to 580 of those pets died. And most, had the same symptoms.
Dr. Mark Finkler, a Veterinarian at The Roanoke Animal Hospital shared some of those symptoms with WDBJ7," vomiting and diarrhea, the pets are lethargic, they may not want to eat." "Excessive urinations, excessive thirst and many of these dogs aren't feeling well so they're not eating, they don't have the energy to get up and go."
The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine conducted over 12-hundred tests, visited Chinese manufacturers and worked with researchers from all over the world, yet, the cause of the illness has eluded them. And pet owners, like Rita Dease, aren't taking any chances.
"I feed my dog raw because of that reason. Because of the recalls in the food over the last few years. It's too late a lot of times, you already fed the dog, bought it, fed it to the dog and then you hear about the recall and you don't know what's going to happen."
Finkler has taken the proactive approach with his patients.
"We have warned our clients so well, that they're afraid to get anything from China."
Others pet owners are sticking to their vet's advice and using more old-fashioned treats to reward their pets.
"We take a few pieces of their regular dog food or kibble and we use that as a treat. The other thing that we tend to do is we use small crackers or other small pieces of our regular food," pet owner, Marie Stewart told Your Hometown News Leader.
And that's the smartest way, Finkler says, to ward off a serious and potentially deadly illness.
The warning does not name any recalled, Chinese made products to date. But, the FDA is asking pet owners to avoid buying them and to report any persistent or serious symptoms to the agency.
For more information visit the FDA's website: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm371413.htm#look