Click here to learn more.
It seems like the news is constantly full of stories about pet food recalls. Most recently, we've been hearing a lot about recalls due to salmonella contamination.
Food recalls can occur for many reasons, including mislabeling (for example, potential allergens not listed), contaminates (particulates found in the food, which are usually tiny pieces of glass, plastic or metal), bacterial contamination (salmonella, e. coli) and mold toxins (aflatoxin). Food recalls occur when there is a concern that a food may cause consumers to become sick or even die. The recall can be initiated by the food manufacturer or the distributor, or by a government agency, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Salmonella is the most common cause of bacterial foodborne disease in the United States and can be found in eggs, dairy, fruit, meat (poultry, pork, beef) and contaminated water. This rod-shaped bacteria multiplies in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to inflammation and diarrhea. The incubation period is typically 12 to 72 hours. Some strains of salmonella can enter the bloodstream causing serious illness and death. In humans, the fatality rate is less than 1%, but salmonella can still cause serious illness.
In animals, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, weakness and fever are the most common signs of salmonellosis. Stools may appear bloody or green, and diarrhea usually lasts three to seven days. Stool cultures can confirm the diagnosis of salmonella. Young animals and animals with underlying health problems are most at risk.
Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. The corrections of dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities are crucial. Many times, intravenous fluids are needed to treat these problems, and in some cases, antibiotics are used as well. In humans, there is some evidence that antidiarrheal agents may worsen salmonellosis by keeping the bacteria in the digestive tract for a longer period of time.
Your pet can develop salmonellosis from eating contaminated food — but people can also be affected by the same contamination. Humans can be exposed to salmonella both by handling contaminated food and by handling the pet’s dirty food bowls. Humans can also be infected by picking up stool from infected animals. To reduce the chances of being infected by any foodborne toxin, wash your hands after handling pet food, bowls, toys or stool. Do not wash pet food bowls or implements in your kitchen sink or bathtub. If you must do so, clean the basins afterward with bleach. Be aware that both pets and people can still shed salmonella for weeks — or possibly months — after being “cleared” of infection.
Many pet owners use pet food bins to store their pet’s rations. Be sure to use up all of your pet’s old food before pouring in a new bag. Rinse and clean bins in between refills, and be sure to keep empty pet food bags until the food is used so that you can track and report critical information in the event your pet becomes sick and you think the food may be the culprit.
The FDA keeps a list of pet food recalls; go to their website to sign up for free email alerts. And if you think your pet has been exposed to or is exhibiting symptoms of salmonella, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Read more articles by Dr. Tina Wismer.
More on Vetstreet.com:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Ebola survivor Nina Pham celebrated
Bentley the Cavalier King Charles
Spaniel's second birthday Thursday.
"Polar vortex" weather conditions might
but be taking over the country, but these
The animal lovers in your life will surely
appreciate calendars, jewelry, chocolate
and more that benefit animal…
A tiny hamster and his tiny dinner guests
enjoy a tiny Thanksgiving dinner while
wearing tiny pilgrim hats.
In the days between Thanksgiving and
New Year’s, your dog or cat will probably
sneak his fair share of leftovers.
From deliciously rich holiday fare to
enticingly shiny decorations, the season
brings plenty of risky temptations…
The playful Shih Tzu will love to be your lap dog and prized canine companion, even if you're not a Chinese emperor.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.