Invisible danger for pets and humans: Salmonella

Image courtesy of Food Safety News.

Federal public health officials have repeated warnings about pig ear treats for dogs as human illnesses related to the multi-branded products have sickened 127 people in 33 states in a multi-drug resistant Salmonella outbreak. Thirty percent of humans affected (26) in the outbreak have required hospitalization, many of them children younger than 5 years old.

FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising consumers to avoid all pig ear pet treats. Retailers nationwide have been urged to stop selling the item. Public health officials are urging consumers to check their homes for pig ear pet treats and throw them away in secure containers so no animals can get to them. Anything used to store or serve the pig ear pet treats should be cleaned and sanitized, including countertops, food bowls, and storage containers. Multiple brands of product are affected by this recall.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the pig ears, and there is a further risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products. Any surfaces or utensils such as feeding bowls exposed to these products could be contaminated and should be cleaned and sanitized.

Individuals infected with Salmonella should monitor for some, or all, of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. Anyone exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. The FDA and the CDC urge individuals with a pet that has consumed pig eat treats and exhibits symptoms of illness to contact their veterinarian.

Updates on the investigation will be posted to the CDC’s website.  Help keep your pet (and your family) healthy and food-safe! Barb