A 3-year-old mixed-breed dog is the first pet to become ill from the salmonella outbreak linked to tainted peanut butter that has sickened hundreds of people in the United States.
The dog developed a severe case of diarrhea after eating Happy Tails dog biscuits purchased at Albertsons, the Oregon Public Health Division reports in a media release. The biscuits are one of several dog products containing peanut butter that have been recalled.
Tests done at Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory show that the strain of salmonella the dog contracted was identical to the one implicated in the nationwide outbreak linked to Peanut Corporation of America. The company is the focus of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation.
The investigation has led to more than a thousand of products - including several dog treats - being taken off the shelves that contain peanut butter and paste made at the company's plant in Blakely, Georgia. The recalls have included dog biscuits sold at Alberstons and Shaw's supermarkets, rawhide treats made by Carolina Prime Pet and Salix, and dog biscuits sold by PetSmart.
Emilio DeBess, Oregon's public health veterinarian, advises pet parents to take an inventory of all treats and make sure they have none of the recalled products. "If you do, stop feeding them to your pets immediately," he said. "If the product is open, dispose of it in a pet-safe location."
Those who have unopened recalled products should return them to the store where they were purchased, Dr. DeBess said.
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The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association advises pet owners to wash their hands if they have handled the treats or after touching dogs who are sick because of the potential of bacterial transmission. More than 575 human illnesses in 43 states have been linked to the consumption of peanut butter and peanut butter-containing foods in the past three months.