Information for Veterinarians

Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infantis Infections Linked to Dry Dog Food (Final Update)

Posted July 18, 2012 6:00 PM ET

Salmonella is an important cause of human illness in the United States. More information about Salmonella, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection, can be found on the CDC Salmonella Web Page and the CDC Vital Signs Web Page.

CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in multiple states and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Infantis infections in humans. In addition to humans, animals may have been affected. Animal illnesses associated with recalled products have been reported to FDA’s consumer complaint systemExternal.

Pets may get Salmonella infections from eating contaminated pet foods. People may get Salmonella infections from handling contaminated pet products, or having contact with infected pets or their feces.

What is the clinical presentation of salmonellosis in dogs and cats?

Dogs and cats can become ill due to a Salmonella infection and have diarrhea, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, or abdominal pain; however, some dogs and cats may be asymptomatic. Like humans, some dogs and cats can become carriers and can infect other animals or humans. If your client has a pet that is known to have eaten any of the recalled products and they have concerns that the pet may have salmonellosis, they may want to bring the pet to you, their veterinarian, for assessment.

What pet food has been recalled?

Multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in Gaston, South Carolina have been linked with human illnesses. Diamond Pet Foods has expanded its recall of some brands of dry dog and cat food manufactured in this facility.

More information on the recalled products, including production codes, and distribution information, can be found on:

To whom do I report a suspected or confirmed Salmonella illness in an animal?

Veterinarians and clients alike can report cases of animal illness associated with pet food in two ways: (1) call the FDA Consumer Complaint CoordinatorExternal in their state, or (2) report electronically through the Safety Reporting PortalExternal. Reports should include product details such as brand name, production code (Example: BDR0105E2XJW), expiration date (Example: Best by 3-APRIL-2013), manufacturer or distributor, and location of purchase. Reports also should include medical information, including a veterinarian’s report. FDA will review the consumer complaint and determine next steps including whether a sample collection (diagnostic and/or finished product) is necessary.

More information regarding how to report a pet food complaint can be found on the FDA websiteExternal.

I’ve already submitted a complaint to FDA, when will I get a response?

In each case, the information the veterinarian or consumer furnishes is evaluated by FDA staff to determine what follow-up is needed.

Additional information on what happens when a problem is reported can be found on the FDA websiteExternal.

What type of samples should I collect from an animal with suspected Salmonella infection and a history of exposure to a recalled pet food? What laboratory should I send the sample to for testing?

If you are presented with an ill animal suspected to have come in contact with recalled products or with clinical signs consistent with salmonellosis, please report the case to FDA as described above.

For testing, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommend submitting diarrhea (preferred) or vomitus samples to a state or university veterinary diagnostic laboratory for Salmonella culturing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis testing (PFGE). Additionally, stool samples can also be submitted for pets that appear healthy but were known to eat a recalled product. If the laboratory isolates Salmonella but cannot perform PFGE, the isolate maybe forwarded to a laboratory that can perform the procedure such as one of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) labs in your area or the Diagnostic Bacteriology Laboratory at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. To locate an AAVLD laboratory in your area, go to AAVLD Accredited LabsExternal, or go to the AAVLD’s home pageExternal and click on the “Accreditation” link on the left side menu bar. To submit isolates to NVSL, complete Form VS 10-3 indicating whether serotyping, PFGE, or both are requested. Form VS 10-3 and additional information on sample submission is located at the NVSL websiteExternal.

The client brought a leftover pet food that were fed to a pet prior to the pet’s illness, and requested the leftover food be tested. Where do I send those samples?

If you are presented with an ill animal with clinical signs consistent with salmonellosis that ate the recalled products, please report the case to FDA. Pet food that has been recalled should be assumed to be contaminated and does not need to be tested. If the animal is ill and the product has not been recalled it is very important to report the case to FDA.

If the owner wishes to have the pet food tested by a private laboratory, please keep in mind that it may be costly to have numerous tests conducted on the sample. Contact your state/local public health or agriculture laboratory, or state/ university veterinary diagnostic labs for information on how to collect and ship a potentially contaminated pet food or treat sample.

What advice should I give clients about their pets and the recall?

Provide treatment recommendations to your clients and advise them against giving away their pet or euthanizing their pet because of a Salmonella infection. Talk to them about taking precautions to minimize the risk of illness to their family and how to safely clean up after their pet.

Be sure to tell the client that Salmonella infections are a zoonotic disease meaning that the infection can spread between animals and people. Salmonella is transmitted from animals to humans by the fecal oral route. Inform clients of proper hygiene and sanitation precautions to protect themselves and their family as well as any other pets they may have. It is important for people to wash their hands–and make sure children wash their hands–before and, especially, after feeding pets. Also, advise clients to always wash hands right after handling or cleaning up after their pets. If the client or any of their family members are ill, encourage them to contact a health care provider immediately.

For more information, clients and staff at veterinary hospitals can visit:

Where can I learn more about this outbreak investigation?

To learn the latest information on this outbreak investigation, please visit: