This notice has been updated to reflect that the outbreak appears to be over and the investigation is winding down.
Why you should take note
The Public Health Agency of Canada collaborated with provincial and territorial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections that occurred in British Columbia, Alberta, and Yukon. The outbreak appears to be over and the investigation is winding down.
Investigation findings identified exposure to pig ear dog treats as a likely source of the outbreak. Some of the individuals who became sick reported feeding their dog Paws Up! and Western Family brands of pig ear dog treats before their illnesses occurred. These brands are sold at Canadian Tire and Save-On-Foods.
On September 29, 2020, the supplying company, Masters Best Friend, voluntarily issued a Notice of Stop Sale for Paws Up! and Western Family brands of pig ear dog treats. These products were sold nationally. For more information on the affected products, please contact Masters Best Friend.
Although the pig ear dog treats linked to this outbreak are no longer available for purchase in stores, they may still be in consumer homes. Given this, do not feed your dog any Paws Up! or Western Family brand pig ear dog treats purchased on or before September 29, 2020. Always wash your hands right after handling dog treats, and ensure that all areas the treats have come in contact with are properly cleaned and sanitized.
While this outbreak appears to be over, this event is a reminder of the importance of safely handling all pet treats, including pig ears and pet food. These products can be contaminated with bacteria that can make you and others sick if proper handling and cleaning practices are not followed. If contaminated, pet treats and pet food can also make your pets sick. Ill pets can spread bacteria, like Salmonella, to individuals they are in contact with even if they do not show any signs of illness.
In total, ten cases of Salmonella Typhimurium illness were reported in the following provinces and territories: British Columbia (5), Alberta (4), and Yukon (1). Individuals became sick between late February and late September 2020. Three individuals were hospitalized. In addition, one death was reported. Individuals who became ill were between 7 and 95 years of age. The illnesses were distributed equally among men (50%) and women (50%).
Who is most at risk
Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but children aged 5 years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious illness.
Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.
What you can do to protect your health
It is difficult to know whether a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can’t see, smell or taste it. To help prevent Salmonella infections, the following tips may help reduce your risk of getting sick, but they may not fully eliminate the risk of illness.
- Do not feed your dog any Paws Up! or Western Family brand pig ear dog treats purchased on or before September 29, 2020. Although products are no longer available for purchase in stores, they may still be in consumer homes.
- If you have any Paws up! or Western Family brand pig ear dog treats and are unsure of whether these products were purchased on or prior to September 29, 2020, do not feed them to your dog just to be safe.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling any pet food or treats, including pig ear dog treats.
- Wash containers, shelves, and areas that held any pig ear dog treats with hot, soapy water, and wash your hands after handling any of these storage items.
- Keep pet food and treats, including pig ear dog treats, away from children and pick up treats when your pet is done with them.
- When possible, store all pet treats away from where human food is stored or prepared.
- When shopping, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching unpackaged pet food or treats, including products in bulk bins or on store shelves.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal, person, or contaminated product.
- abdominal cramps
These symptoms usually last for 4 to 7 days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness and hospitalization may occur. In some cases, antibiotics may be required. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada