Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Friday, February 13, 2009

Peanut Butter Salmonella Infects Dog In Oregon

Oregon Public Health Division epidemiologists confirmed today that the national outbreak of salmonella linked to contaminated peanut butter products can also affect pets. Laboratory testing has confirmed salmonella for at least one dog in a Douglas County household. Dog biscuits in the household have also been found to be contaminated with salmonella.

"The dog biscuits were on the list of products recalled several weeks ago," said Dr. Emilio DeBess, Oregon State Public Health Veterinarian. "They contain peanut butter that comes from the same Georgia plant that has been linked to the human illnesses."

The positive test results came from a box of Happy Tails Multi-Flavor Dog Biscuits that was sold at an Albertsons in Roseburg.

"Several other brands of pet treats are also on the recall list, and we shouldn't put too much emphasis on this particular brand," DeBess said. "This is a reminder that people need to check not only their own food, but their pet food and treats as well. If the products contain any peanut ingredients, you should check the FDA's website or contact the manufacturer or the store where they were purchased to see if they are on the recall list," he said.

Dogs, cats and other pets can get sick from contaminated food just like humans can, and sick pets are also a potential source of exposure for people. Salmonella is spread by the fecal-oral route.

"Good hygiene and hand-washing are key to reducing the risk of diarrheal disease transmission from person-to-person," DeBess said. "The same good habits work pretty well to prevent animal-to-person transmission too."

"The most common symptom of salmonella in pets is bloody diarrhea, and owners should contact their veterinarian for advice," said DeBess. He recommends that veterinarians culture dogs that are brought in and have eaten peanut butter-flavored products.

This is the first Oregon pet illness and first Oregon pet food product that has been linked to the current Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak nationwide. Over 575 human illnesses in 43 states have been identified-most in the past 3 months-including 12 cases to date in Oregon.

Case #12 was confirmed yesterday, and health officials again remind Oregonians to check pantries and shelves at home for recalled products. A link to the FDA's recalled product database is available at

This outbreak has been linked to the consumption of peanut butter and peanut or peanut butter-containing foods. The common denominator is a processing plant in Blakely, Georgia, operated by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). Peanut products from the plant found their way into well over 1000 different items, prompting the largest and most complicated food recall in U.S. history.

Name-brand peanut butter sold in jars or other retail containers is not a problem in this outbreak, nor are many other products that do not contain ingredients from the PCA factory.

Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting. In humans, symptoms usually develop within one to five days after eating contaminated food. Most people get better without the need for medical attention although the illness can be serious for infants and the elderly.

Orgegon Gov.

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