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Health Canada reports Salmonella cases in B.C., Alberta, Yukon due to pig ear dog treats

Last Updated Sep 29, 2020 at 6:46 pm PDT

FILE: A doctor points out a growth of of salmonella in a petri dish at IEH Laboratories in Lake Forest Park, Wash., in this Monday, May 17, 2010 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, some pig ear treats sold in B.C., the Yukon and Alberta may be tied to an outbreak of Salmonella.

Health Canada says some of the people who became sick said they’d fed their dog Paws Up! and Westen Family brands of pig ear dog treats before they became ill.

The brands are sold at Canadian Tire and Save-on-Foods, but will no longer be available.

As of Tuesday, there are eight confirmed cases of Salmonella Typhimurium illness.

Five were reported in B.C., Two in Alberta and one in the Yukon.

The eight cases took place between late February to early August.

Three people were hospitalized and one person died.

“It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between four and seven weeks.”

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Since it’s difficult to know whether a product is contaminated with Salmonella because it’s not visible and you can’t smell or taste it, to help prevent Salmonella infections Health Canada advises not to feed your dog any Paws Up! or the Western Family brand pig ear dog treats.

“Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling any pet food or treats, including pig ear dog treats,” Health Canada said in a release.

“Wash containers, shelves, and areas that held any pig ear dog treats with hot, soapy water, and wash your hands after handling any of these storage items.”

Keep the pet food and treats away from children and if possible, store all pet treats away from where human food is stored or prepared.

And when shopping, wash your hands thoroughly after touching unpackaged pet food or treats.

“This outbreak is a reminder of the importance of safely handling all pet treats, including pig ears and pet food. These products can be contaminated with bacteria that can make you and others sick if proper handling and cleaning practices are not followed. If contaminated, pet treats and pet food can also make your pets sick. Ill pets can spread bacteria, like Salmonella, to individuals they are in contact with even if they do not show any signs of illness.”

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection which include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting and typically occur six to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria.

“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,” Health Canada explains.

Children under five-years-old, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious illness.

“People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.”