Pet owners are being warned Saturday after an outbreak of Salmonella has been found in connection with raw pet food.
As of Friday afternoon, four British Columbians who feed their pets raw food diets have all become infected with the same strain of Salmonella. The BC Centre for Disease Control said the exact source of the Salmonella is unknown, but investigations are currently underway.
Raw pet food often contains raw animal proteins like meat, bones, organs and eggs. Infections can occur in humans during the handling of raw meat, including raw pet food or from pets shedding bacteria.
Salmonella is a bacteria that infects the intestinal tract and is a common cause of diarrhea in B.C. and around the world. Symptoms can include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. Those symptoms typically begin six to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria and can last anywhere from four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment.
The BC Centre for Disease control is reminding people to wash their hands immediately after handling raw pet food or raw meat and before touching anything else. Pet owners should also wash their hands after handling or cleaning up after their pet, especially prior to preparing their own food or eating.