October 1, 2020 — The Public Health Agency of Canada is alerting consumers it is investigating a deadly outbreak of Salmonella infections occurring in British Columbia, Alberta, and Yukon.
Based on investigation findings to date, exposure to pig ear dog treats has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak.
Some of the individuals who became sick reported feeding their dog Paws Up! and Western Family brands of pig ear dog treats before their illnesses occurred.
These brands are sold at Canadian Tire and Save-On-Foods.
The outbreak investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products may be identified.
On September 29, 2020, the supplying company, Masters Best Friend, voluntarily issued a Notice of Stop Sale for Paws Up! and Western Family brands of pig ear dog treats.
These products were sold nationwide in Canada.
As of September 29, 2020, there are eight confirmed cases of Salmonella typhimurium illness in the following provinces: British Columbia (5), Alberta (2), and Yukon (1).
Individuals became sick between late February and early August 2020. Three individuals have been hospitalized. In addition, one individual has died.
Individuals who became ill are between 7 and 95 years of age. The illnesses are distributed equally among men (50%) and women (50%).
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.
What to Do?
Given this, do not feed your dog any Paws Up! or Western Family brand pig ear dog treats.
Always wash your hands right after handling dog treats, and ensure that all areas the treats have come in contact with are properly cleaned and sanitized.
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.
For more information on the affected products, please contact Masters Best Friend.
Although products are no longer available for purchase in stores, they may still be in consumer homes.
U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.
Or go to the FDA’s “Report a Pet Food Complaint” page.
Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.