How food poisoning affects your pet

In recent weeks, dog food products from at least four pet food companies been recalled due to fears that the products might contain the food poisoning pathogen Salmonella.

These recalls, issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), come after several reports of pets and children becoming sick. Six cases were reported, including a kitten and two children who became ill. Salmonella was detected in several of the products after routine testing.

Raw pet food products were among those recalled. Raw meat, when eaten, has the same health risks for animals as it does for humans: an increased risk of ingesting a foodborne pathogen.

Symptoms and safety

Food poisoning looks similar in humans and animals. Pets who have eaten Salmonella-contaminated food might suffer vomiting, diarrhea, fever, a loss of appetite and lethargy, according to the FDA.

Most animals will recover, but pets who are very young, very old or already ill face greater risks. Serious cases can lead to gastroenteritis, miscarriages in pregnant pets and blood poisoning.

Humans in these cases can become sick after handling contaminated food, which could allow the bacteria to reach the mouths by way of the hands. Pets carrying Salmonella can also transfer it to their human families, even if the pet shows no symptoms of salmonellosis.

To stay healthy feeding a pet, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you wash your hands after handling pet food and treats, storing pet food products away from human food, keeping the products away from children, and avoid letting your pet lick you after they have eaten.

Neogen, in addition to offering pathogen testing for the human and pet food industries, provides veterinary products for companion animals and cat and dog genomic testing services.

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