An outbreak of salmonella has been traced to pig ears sold as dog treats. The outbreak has sickened 45 people, including 12 hospitalizations, in 13 states. Although the investigation is ongoing, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has found epidemiological evidence connecting pig ear dog treats to the salmonella outbreak among the infected group.
A salmonella infection causes symptoms including nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever in people. In rare cases, more serious ailments could occur, which could lead to death. Pets with salmonella infections could be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Animals can get salmonella from eating contaminated products, while humans who handled the infected product or the sickened animals could also become ill.
After conducting interviews with 38 of the 45 infected people with salmonella, the CDC found that 34 of these people had been in direct contact with dogs prior to falling ill. Seventeen of the 38 confirmed they had also been in direct contact with pig ear dog treats. Currently no common supplier of pig ear dog treats has been identified as the source of the outbreak.
Pet Supplies Plus announced that it is recalling bulk pig ears sold in open bins at its more than 400 stores across the country. The retailer’s statement said, “Testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development revealed that aging bulk pig ear product in one of our stores tested positive for salmonella. We have pulled bulk pig ear product from the shelves of all of our stores and have stopped shipping bulk pig ears from our distribution center.”
The bulk pig ears were distributed to Pet Supplies Plus stores in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. The retailer said that none of the 45 cases in the current outbreak have been confirmed to be a result of purchasing pig ears from Pet Supplies Plus.