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Arthur Dogswell recalls cat chicken jerky treats, FDA says

One of the nation's leading manufacturers of pet treats has issued a voluntary recall of chicken breast treats because of the potential to cause health problems in cats. The recall follows reports of more than 1,800 dogs in the U.S. sickened or killed after eating chicken jerky treats from China. 

Arthur Dogswell LLC issued a recall late Friday for its Catswell Brand VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins treats because of potential contamination with high levels of propylene gylcol. High levels of propylene glycol in the treats could result in serious in serious injury to cats, according to the notice posted by the federal Food and Drug Administration. 

The Los Angeles-based firm is voluntarily recalling 1,051 cartons of the treats packed as either 10 or 50 packages per case of the Catswell Brand VitaKitty with Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins, the company said in a press release. 

Health effects could include inducing anemia and making cells more susceptible to oxidative damage. The company said no illnesses have been reported to date. 

Arthur Dogswell LLC also produces chicken jerky dog treats made in China. The FDA has warned about treats made in China, which have been cited in more than 1,800 reports of illnesses and deaths in the United States. Friday's recall is the first associated with chicken jerky pet treats since the FDA issued a third warning about the products last November.

A Dogswell spokesman, Brad Armistead, sent an email statement to NBCNews.com late Friday that said the company hopes to return the products to the marketplace in the near future. 

"We have voluntarily withdrawn a small number of chicken products for cats. This is an isolated situation and does not affect any other products for cats or dogs," Armistead said. "We are committed to providing safe and healthy products to our customers and their pet companions."

The FDA has repeatedly said it has tested pet treats in the U.S. for the presence of many toxins, including propylene gylcol, but agency representatives said they found no levels high enough to urge a product recall. 

The VitaKitty treats were distributed nationwide via retail stores and mail order from April 13th through June 14th, 2012.
This product is packaged in a re-sealable 2 ounce orange plastic bag with a clear window. The VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins lot codes affected are as follows: SEW12CH032701/03c and SEW12CH032702/03c with a best before date of 09/10/13 and 09/11/13, respectively (UPC code 8 84244 00057 2). Lot codes can be found on the bottom right backside of the package.

“We are taking this voluntary action because it is in the best interests of our customers and their feline companions,” said Marco Giannini, CEO and Founder. “We will be working with the FDA in our continued commitment to ensure that we meet FDA guidelines.”

The recall resulted from a routine surveillance sample collected by Dogswell and the FDA. The firm has ceased manufacture of the affected item, though it's not clear if that action extends to other products. 

Consumers who purchased the VitaKitty products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. If the product was purchased online, consumers should contact the Internet retailer to pursue a specific return and refund. 

FDA officials did not immediately return NBCNews.com calls for more information about how the recall may relate to the ongoing issue of contaminated chicken jerky treats made in China. 

On the company website, www.dogswell.com, officials said that many of their products are made in the U.S., but some are made in China. It was not immediately clear where the recalled treats were manufactured. Dogswell brand chicken breast treats for dogs were among those tested by the FDA in 2007, when the agency first became concerned about reports of illness in pets linked to Chinese-made products. Those treats, tested in an FDA southwestern regional lab in August 2007, were found to be in compliance. 

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