January 23, 2009 -- In light of last week’s FDA recall, which traced sources of Salmonella contamination to a plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America, the ASPCA is advising pet parents to temporarily discontinue the use of peanut butter products.
A popular treat for dogs, peanut butter is commonly stuffed into chewable activity toys. While healthy adult companion dogs are relatively resistant to Salmonella bacteria, pets with health issues, young puppies and older pooches with compromised immune systems may be at greater risk. “Pet parents should wash their hands after handling any potentially contaminated food and immediately consult with a veterinarian if any symptoms are noticed in their pets,” says the ASPCA’s Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President, Animal Health Services. Signs to watch out for in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy and drooling or panting. Cats may develop a high fever with vague, non-specific clinical signs.
In addition, pet parents handling a contaminated peanut butter product may also develop food poisoning. “Salmonella can be passed between humans and pets,” says Dr. Louise Murray, ASPCA Director of Medicine. “Adult cats are highly resistant, and most dogs infected with the bacterium appear normal, but may pass Salmonella in their feces, which can infect people or other pets. Therefore it’s essential that pet parents take steps to protect both themselves and their animal companions from infection."
For a complete list of recalled products, please visit the FDA online. Do check often, as the list is regularly udpated. If you suspect that your pet may have ingested or has become sick after ingesting a recalled product, please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.