The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial and territorial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections occurring in British Columbia, Alberta, and Yukon, Canada, according to a press release from the agency.

Based on the 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 nationally.

Although products are no longer available for purchase in stores, they may still be in consumer homes.

Salmonella outbreak associated with pigs’ ear dog treats

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.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal, person, or contaminated product.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

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. 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.