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Salmonella Bacteria in Pet Food - More Than Just Raw Food

This article originally appeared on my ongoing series of articles for Flexcin International, Inc as Salmonella Bacteria in Pet Food - More Than Just Raw Food

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states approximately 42,000 cases ofsalmonellosis are reported in the United States annually.  More so, the milder cases that do not get reported can multiply that number up 29 times or greater! What is alarming is that this and other culprits of contamination by microorganisms, including bacteria, molds, parasites, and others, live in the food we thought was safe.


How can Salmonella be diagnosed?

Although bacteria are present in all foods, pathogenic bacteria (CampylobacterE. coliListeria,Salmonella, etc.) have the potential to cause food borne illness in both people and pets.  Flu-like symptoms (vomitdiarrheafever, and muscle aches) are the main clinical signs.  More severe cases can involve ataxia (loss of balance), seizures, and even death.

How can your pet get Salmonella?

When most pet owners think of foods that could contain pathogenic bacteria, undercooked or rawoptions likely come to mind.  In actuality, recalled pet foods and since 2008 have ingredients thathave been cooked, including kibble (dry food), moist foods in pouches or cans, and treats.

How can I prevent my pet from getting Salmonella?

Although you cannot completely prevent your pet from getting Salmonella, you can be proactive about reducing the chances your pet contracts the disease.  Here are 4 helpful tips for reducing sickness caused by pathogenic bacteria:

  1. Handle/prepare/dispense a portion of food sufficient only for a single meal.
  2. Run all food dishes and utensils through a dishwasher cycle immediately after each feeding.
  3. Wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling any pet food, regardless if it is raw or cooked.  Also wash your hands after handling your pets and prevent them from licking your hands or face.
  4.  Be aware of recalled pet foods and treats by frequently checking the FDA Animal & Veterinary Recalls & Withdrawls or sign up for email delivery of Susan Thixton’s informative newsletter theTruth About Pet Food.

On the other hand...

Recently, Yoghund brand Organic Banana & Peanut Butter flavor frozen yogurt dog treats were recalled.  Just because you have these treats in your freezer, however, does not mean you or your pet will fall ill. Many times the FDA releases that these are precautionary measures. To be on the safe side, it is always best to throw out any of the affected foods and treats.

High risk conditions

Pets and people having compromised immune systems are especially prone to food borne illness – juveniles (puppies, kittens, children), seniors, pregnant females, and those suffering from immune-compromising diseases (cancer, HIV, diabetes, etc.).

Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).

Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2012) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

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