Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they were investigating a link between pig ear treats for dogs and an outbreak of Salmonella infections in humans who had handled the treats.
Four weeks later, the FDA and CDC have made another alarming announcement: They are recommending that pet owners do not give their dogs any pig ear treats and that stores should stop selling them.
In early July, 45 cases of human infection linked to exposure to pig ear treats tainted with Salmonella enterica had been reported in a handful of states. As of today, that number has jumped to 127 cases in 33 states. Twenty-six of those people had to be hospitalized.
Although the FDA has not yet recalled any brands, two companies have voluntarily recalled their pig ear products. Pet Supplies Plus announced on July 3 that it is voluntarily recalling bulk pig ear products supplied to all of its stores by several different vendors. On July 26, Lennox Intl Inc announced that it is voluntarily recalling its Natural Pig ears products that were shipped to distributors and retail stores across the country from May 1 to July 3, 2019.
The FDA said in today’s announcement that it’s working with impacted firms to remove pig ear treats from the marketplace and to identify places where they may have been distributed. Some of the pig ear treats associated with the human Salmonella infections have been traced to sources in Argentina and Brazil.
Salmonella Infections Can Be Deadly
In most cases, Salmonella infections will clear up on their own, but as those 26 people can tell you, you might end up in a hospital. In the worst cases, it can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and other body parts. Salmonella infections can be deadly for very young and very old people, as well as for people with weakened immune systems.
The most common signs of a Salmonella infection in humans are diarrhea, nausea, fever and abdominal cramps. If you’re giving your dog pig ear treats and are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to see your doctor.
Dogs can also get Salmonella infections. The symptoms are the same as those for humans, but infected dogs may have no symptoms at all. The problem is that dogs can easily pass the infection along to humans. “Once Salmonella gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria, and the contamination will continue to spread,” the FDA notes. See your veterinarian if your dog shows the symptoms of a Salmonella infection.
If you think you or your dog has been sickened by a pig ears treat or any other pet product, you can report it on the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal.