Pig ear dog treats ‘likely’ linked to salmonella illnesses, 1 death in Canada

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Health officials are warning Canadians about a salmonella outbreak in dog treats that has put three people in hospital and caused one death.

Since February, some Canadians have been exposed to salmonella illness “likely” because of pig ear dog treats, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) warned on Tuesday.

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Some of the individuals who became sick reported feeding their dogs pig ear dog treats made by PawsUp! and Western Family brands, the health agency said.

These dog treats are sold at Canadian Tire and Save-On-Foods, according to PHAC.

Because the outbreak investigation is ongoing, PHAC said more products linked to salmonella could be identified.

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There have been eight confirmed cases of salmonella illness linked to these dog treats since February 2020, PHAC said. Five cases were in B.C., two in Alberta and one in Yukon. Three people have been hospitalized and one person has died.

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On Tuesday, 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 in Canada.

While the products are no longer available for purchase in stores, they may still be in consumers’ homes, PHAC warned.

“Given this, do not feed your dog any Paws Up! or Western Family brand pig ear dog treats. 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,” PHAC said on its website.

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It’s not known if any pets have got sick from salmonella from the treats.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, salmonellosis is uncommon in dogs and cats, but they can be carriers of the bacteria. This means that even if the pets don’t show symptoms of salmonella illness, they can still shed the bacteria in their stool and saliva and then spread to the home environment.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting, and typically happen six to 72 hours after exposure.

“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,” PHAC explained.