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Could you be risking your dog's life over a treat?

Could you be risking your dog's life over a treat?

By Katie Crowther. CREATED Apr 18, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Could you be risking your dog's life, over a treat? A local pet owner thinks so after her dog got sick and mysteriously died.

Now, she's questioning why the treat is still on store shelves.

"You don't want to watch your pet suffer like that," says Terie Vass. "It's a miserable death. It's horrible."

Vass was devastated by the sudden death of her two-year-old dog BJ. He died last month.

"I had an active, healthy dog, then two days later, my dog was dead," she describes. "It happened so fast."

Vass says BJ and BJ's mom Tashie  got sick after she gave them each a treat from the same bag of Waggin' Train Chicken Jerky. 

BJ never recovered. According to veterinary reports, he died from renal failure. But nothing in those reports link BJ's death to the Waggin' Train chicken jerky treats.

Despite that, Terie's not alone in questioning the product. We checked Waggin' Train's Facebook page. It's filled with comments and complaints from other dog owners who believe their pets got sick the same way.

"Calling these things treats," Vass says. "I can hardly bring myself to do it."

Action News contacted the Food and Drug Administration, which confirms it's actively investigating complaints of chicken jerky dog treats made in China.

We also checked with Waggin' Train. They directed us to their website which states "The FDA issued cautionary updates in November 2010 and March 2011 that do not specify Waggin' Train or any other brand."

Waggin' Train goes on to says that both those FDA updates "clearly state that after extensive testing, scientists have been unable to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses."

There has not been a product recall. But Vass plans to keep fighting for one.

"I don't want another dog in Las Vegas,  or anywhere in the U.S. to die," she says. "It's not something anybody wants to go through."

The FDA also points out on its website that many of the reported illnesses may be the result of causes other than eating the chicken jerky dog treats.

For more information, on this story: FDA Product Safety information and Waggin' Train.