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CDC warning: don’t touch pig ear treats or feed them to your dog

People can get sick after handling the treats or caring for dogs who ate them
Posted at 12:13 PM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 19:52:51-04

GREAT FALLS — Dog owners are advised to stop feeding pig ear treats to dogs in order to end the spread of salmonella to both humans and dogs nationwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said in a news release.

The CDC, public health, and regulatory officials in several states, along with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, are investigating an outbreak of multi-drug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to contact with pig ear dog treats. Cases have been reported in 35 states; there are no reported cases in Montana at this point.

The CDC released an update on Thursday to previous advisories from July indicating that dozens have become sick after their dogs consumed pig ear treats.

Since then, 16 people with salmonella have been added to the investigation. In total, 143 have become ill in connection to this salmonella outbreak, the CDC said.

Nearly 30 percent of the illnesses have resulted in hospitalizations, the CDC said. Twenty-six illnesses (20%) are among children younger than 5 years. No deaths have been reported.

The CDC and FDA are advising people not to buy or feed any pig ear dog treats, including any that may already be in homes.

People can get sick after handling the treats or caring for dogs who ate the treats. Dogs might get sick after eating them.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that contact with pig ear dog treats from many different suppliers is the likely source of this outbreak. As a result, the CDC and FDA are advising people not to buy any pig ear dog treats or feed them to their dogs.

State health and regulatory officials in several states and the FDA have tested pig ear dog treats at various suppliers and identified many different strains of Salmonella. No single supplier, distributor, or common brand of pig ear treats has been identified that could account for all the illnesses, according to the CDC.

The CDC offers the following advice:

  • Do not feed any pig ear treats to your dog. Throw them away in a secure container so that your pets and other animals can’t eat them.
    • Even if some of the pig ears were fed to your dog and no one got sick, do not continue to feed them to your dog.
    • Wash containers, shelves, and areas that held any pig ears with hot, soapy water. Be sure to wash your hands after handling any of these items.
  • I fed pig ears to my dog. How do I know if I have a Salmonella infection?
    • People with a Salmonella infection may have diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Most people recover without treatment. If you have symptoms of a Salmonella infection, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • How do I know if my dog has a Salmonella infection?
    • Some dogs with Salmonella infection may not look sick. Dogs with a Salmonella infection usually have diarrhea (which may be bloody). Sick animals may seem more tired than usual, and may vomit or have a fever.
    • If your dog has these signs of illness, or you are concerned that your pet may have Salmonellainfection, please contact your pet’s veterinarian.
  • How can I report my dog’s illness if I think it’s related to pig ears?
  • Shop safely
    • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching unpackaged dog food or treats, including products in bulk bins or on store shelves.
  • Take extra care around young children
    • Children younger than 5 should not touch or eat dog food or treats.
    • Young children are at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths.
    • Adults should supervise handwashing for young children.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling dog food or treats.

RELATED: FDA Investigates Contaminated Pig Ear Pet Treats Connected to Human Salmonella Infections