By the bioMérieux Connection Editors
It isn’t just people who can be infected with Salmonella—pets can too. In early July, Pet Supplies Plus recalled bulk pig ear dog treats because they might have been contaminated with particular strains of Salmonella. Salmonella causes pets to become ill and it can affect them in the same way it can affect humans.
Many indicators can help pet owners decide if their dog may have Salmonella. Some dogs may not look sick, but many may seem more tired than usual or have a fever. Dogs will typically have diarrhea that may contain blood. If your pet develops diarrhea or appears sick you should contact your veterinarian. Often times no treatment is needed, but severe cases may require antibiotics or hospitalization in a veterinary facility.
Contaminated pet products not only endanger pets but put humans at risk of infection too. Salmonella is one of the most common foodborne illnesses, and the infection can spread through fecal-oral-cross-contamination. Pet owners should follow proper hygiene practices while handling pet feces to prevent cross-contamination.
Dozens of pet owners have become sick from the outbreak. As of August 6, a total of 127 people have reported infections from 33 states; of those infected, 26 have been hospitalized. So far, the has CDC interviewed 85 ill people; 89% of those reported having contact with a dog before getting sick. Of 62 ill people with available information, 73% reported contact with pig ear dog treats or dogs who were fed pig ear dog treats.
The CDC offers many tips to stay healthy while caring for your dog. They include washing hands thoroughly after handling dog food or treats and following storage instructions on food bags and containers. It is also recommended to refrain from letting your dog lick your mouth or face after it eats food or treats.
In this case, CDC recommends throwing away or returning all recalled pig ear treats. Even if some of the treats were fed to your dog and no one got sick, they should still be discarded. Pig ear dog treats were indicated to be the source of a Salmonella outbreak by epidemiologic evidence found in one of Pet Supplies Plus’s stores. Sampling done by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development revealed that the aging bulk pig ear product tested positive for Salmonella enterica.
For more information on the recalled dog treats, visit the FDA’s Contaminated Pig Ear Pet Treats investigation page.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.