Socastee resident Linda Lennox has two gifts in her life, 4-year-old Pepper and 5-month-old Matilda.
"They get along so well," said Lennox.
But it was three days ago that Lennox found out her two friends could be getting poisoned, and she could be responsible.
"My friend from Michigan told me that her veterinarian told her about these chicken jerky treats that are made in China, and they could be poisoning our dogs," said Lennox.
Pepper is a Pomeranian. Matilda is a Pomeranian mix.
Lennox said she immediately called her veterinarian to see if the hospital had heard of anything.
"The vet said they had just received a fax in regards to the chicken jerky," said Lennox.
"It's been a long known fact that any product Made in China are unsafe for pets," said Murrells Inlet Veterinarian Todd Brown. "In the past, the FDA has been able to isolate dangerous things in the treats like toxins, lead and metals in the products."
In November last year, the Food and Drug Administration announced the federal agency was "again cautioning consumers that chicken jerky products for dogs (also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with illness in dogs. In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China."
The FDA warned the chicken jerky products should not be "substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities."
If you're wondering why the FDA only issued a warning and not a recall of the products, it's because scientists with the agency have yet to determine a definite cause for the reported illnesses.
"There is a lax policy with dog foods and dog products," said Brown. "We haven't seen a case at our clinic in sometime, but we have seen them before."
Brown said when an animal comes into the clinic with kidney problems, the doctors immediately ask the owner if the animal has been eating chicken jerky made in China.
"Owners who know their vets and listen to their vets know not to give their animals these treats," said Brown. "But so many owners who go into Petsmart or Walmart to buy their pet food don't know not to buy this."
The FDA also said many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky.
Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.