I’ve written about this before, but the latest news is a serious reminder that humans can get sick from pet food. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 14 individuals have been infected in a multi-state Salmonella
outbreak contracted from contaminated dog food. The news began breaking a couple of weeks ago but there were no confirmed human or animal cases until the CDC news release today, May 4, 2012. A Gaston, South Carolina Diamond Pet Food plant is the source of the infection based on CDC DNA tests performed on recalled dog food and infected human patients. Brands recalled are Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Diamond Puppy, and Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice Formula.
To date, no dogs have been reported as infected. Fortunately, dogs tend to become infected less easily with Salmonella than humans. If you live in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia and purchased one of these foods, discontinue using it immediately and contact the store from which you purchased it.
Common clinical signs of Salmonella infection in dogs are lethargy (acting more tired or sleepy), diarrhea (even bloody diarrhea), fever, and vomiting. Some pets will experience decreased appetite, a low-grade fever, and abdominal pain or tenseness. An otherwise healthy dog can be a carrier of Salmonella and infect other animals or humans. If your dog has been fed any of the recalled foods and has any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian at once.
When you’re handling pet foods, use good hygiene. Wash your hands after handling any pet food or treats. Avoid placing pet foods on treats on counters or surfaces where you put human foods. Wash your pet’s bowls with soap and hot water at least several times a week if not daily. Throw away old or spoiled pet food in an enclosed bag so other animals won’t accidentally ingest it. Remember other animals can harbor Salmonella and other pathogens and transmit them to you through direct contact or feces. Be especially careful with pet food and treats around infants and toddlers.
The good news is this outbreak was identified. The bad news is at least 14 people are known to be sick with a serious bacterial infection. Use proper hygiene and report any suspected food-borne illness to your veterinarian at once.