FDA, CDC urge dog owners to avoid pig ear treats due to salmonella risk

PHOTO: A dog eats in this undated stock photo.PlaySTOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
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The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration urged pet owners against feeding their dogs pig ear treats amid a widening salmonella outbreak in humans.

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The agencies issued updated guidance this week, saying retailers should stop selling pig ears packaged as pet treats and urging consumers to avoid them due to the possibility they could be contaminated.

At least 127 people across 33 states had been sickened with the bacteria as of Wednesday, including 26 who were hospitalized, the FDA said in a statement.

(MORE: FDA warns of dog foods recalled for too much Vitamin D)

"The FDA has traced back some of the pig ear treats associated with cases of illness to sources in Argentina and Brazil," the FDA said in a statement Wednesday. "Given this and the links to human illness, we believe the most effective way to protect public health at this time is to warn consumers to avoid purchasing or feeding their pets all pig ear treats and for retailers not to sell these products."

PHOTO: A dog eats in this undated stock photo. STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A dog eats in this undated stock photo.

The agency said consumers with pig ear treats in their homes should "throw them away in a secure container where animals, including wildlife, cannot access it," wash their hands, and thoroughly disinfect any surfaces that may have come into contact with the product.

Two major sellers issued recalls of the treats, some of which originated from Argentina and Brazil, last month after samples tested positive for salmonella, according to the FDA.

New Jersey-based Lennox International expanded a voluntary recall of its Natural Pig product on Wednesday in light of the ongoing outbreak. That came less than a month after Pet Supplies Plus, whose vendors include Lennox, recalled all of its bulk pig ear products.

The recall involved products shipped to distributors and/or retail stores between Nov. 1, 2018, and July 3, 2019.

According to the CDC, symptoms of salmonella infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Pets with salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, vomiting and possibly decreased appetite.