Brucellosis in a dog, raw meat origin

My friend Scott Weese wrote this up in his Worms and Germs Blog so I don’t have to.

(I still miss Sadie, who we had to relocate before we moved to Australia).

A recent report from the Netherlands in Emerging Infectious Diseases (van Dijk et al 2018) describes a new twist on raw feeding concerns, Brucella suis infection. For the full details, you can read the whole paper here, but the short version of the story is outlined below.

The dog had fever, ascites (fluid free in the abdomen) and inflammation of the testicles, and after failing to respond to antibiotics, it was taken to surgery. At surgery, culture samples were collected from the epididymis (tissue adjacent to the testicle). Brucella suis was identified, which presumably caused a bit stir in the lab and clinic since that bacterium is a rarely identified, poses risks to people and is notifiable (the government has to be contacted when it’s found). Ultimately, the dog was euthanized after failing to respond to further treatment.

Because this is a notifiable disease, there was an investigation. The dog’s raw, rabbit-based diet became the leading potential source and Brucella suis was identified in samples from a 30,000 kg batch of raw rabbit imported from Argentina, a country where B. suis is present.

It’s a single case report so we can’t get too worked up about it, but it’s noteworthy for a couple reasons.

One is the disease…brucellosis is a nasty disease. It can be hard to treat, is potentially zoonotic and sometimes results in public health-mandated euthanasia of the dog.

Another is the importation aspect. The dog wasn’t imported but the bacterium was, via food. We’re trying to get increasing awareness of the need to query travel and importation history, since that can impact disease risks. Querying diet origins is tougher, since, while most people would know where their dog has been in the past few weeks, they may not know much about where their dog’s diet has been. With commercial processed food, it’s not a big deal but with a higher risk food like raw meat, importing food can be similar to the dog visiting the country of origin, from a disease standpoint. With raw meat, knowing where the meat came from and the disease risks in those areas may be important, but that’s not often easy to find.

The incidence of disease in dogs and cats associated with raw meat feeding ins’t clear and is probably low. Nevertheless, I recommend avoiding raw meat feeding, especially in  high risk households (e.g. with elderly individuals, kids <5 yrs of age, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals). However, if raw meat is to be fed, some basic practices can be taken to reduce the risk, as we outline in the info sheet in our Resources section.

Wasn’t there a Food Safety Authority before this? NZ food safety for a foodie nation

I used to go there a lot, but probably won’t get invited anytime soon.

I get it that politicians have a short life-span, that things change, but New Zealand used to have the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, and then it got sucked into the Ministry of Primary Industries, and now you’re creating of New Zealand Food Safety.

The printers of business cards will be pleased with the work.

Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor says the establishment of New Zealand Food Safety will help raise the profile of food safety for all New Zealanders.

It is one of four new business units created within the Ministry for Primary Industries to create a stronger focus on keys areas of work, along with Biosecurity New Zealand, Fisheries New Zealand and Forestry New Zealand.

“In the spirit of manaakitanga, our food safety system cares for the people producing and processing food, as well as those consuming it. It protects consumers at home and abroad by ensuring that food grown, harvested, imported, processed, transported, stored, exported and sold is safe to eat,” Damien O’Connor says.

“The integrity of the food safety system is particularly important to New Zealand because we are a nation of food producers and exporters, and we are trusted across the globe.

“New Zealand Food Safety brings together about 390 people from MPI’s food standard setting, verification and assurance teams into one strong and visible business unit.

Defence matters

The head coach of the Australian state of Queensland , a fellow Canadian, told us parents and coaches earlier this year anyone can play defence, it’s easy, offence is hard.

I disagree.

But that’s just my opinion.

Defence wins Stanley Cups and Super Bowls.

Defence takes discipline.

Defence is hard.

Any food company knows this, because they do not want to be tomorrow’s headline, just because someone messed up.

This is a picture of my daughter playing defense a week ago in practice (thanks Julie). Look at how the goalie is ideally placed, with his foot up against the post and his stick outside the post. Look at the angling Sorenne is using on her teammate.

Those are boring things but they win games.

And help people not barf from food.

‘A kinder gentler machine gun hand’ Food safety realities in the biz

Chapman has always been the kinder, gentler version of me.

But sometimes, ya gotta get stuff done.

I’m proud of everything he has accomplished but then thought, I was applying for about the 200th job in Australia, and I always put Dr. Chapman down as a reference.

“Ben, has anyone ever called or e-mailed you about my job application?”


That’s some harsh reality, but puts food safety where it is usually treated: An afterthought, and only if someone gets caught.

That’s why we’re gonna do our own thing: 2 weeks, 2 books, Australia, 2018.

Who throws poop? This Canadian woman at a Tim Hortons

To those not familiar with The Guess Who, Neil Young or Drake, you may not know the name Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut mega-chain started by the late Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman and his business partner, a cop.

You may also not understand the phrase, double-double (Chapman’s favorite).

When I had those daughters in Guelph, I would take them to the local Tims after a 6-7 a.m. practice.

I always refused to buy the coffee because I could make better stuff at home.

Sure the grad student helped coach, but he could get his own Tims.

I got whatever daughter was involved that morning a doughnut, and sometimes a hot chocolate, so they wouldn’t feel too nauseous by 11 a.m. and could make it through the school day (of course I made their lunches too, but ya gotta get over that morning hump).

Now Tims has a different kind of notoriety.

According to KRON in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (KRON) a Canadian woman was caught on camera pulling down her pants, doing her business, and throwing the end result at a Tim Horton’s employee who denied her access to the restroom. 

A spokesperson for Tim Horton’s told BuzzFeed that some of its restaurants have a “restricted access policy for restrooms to ensure the well-being of our guests.” 

The spokesperson said their current understanding of the situation is that the woman was denied access to the restroom due to “past behavior.” 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (if you’re the RCMP where’s your horse?) told BuzzFeed the woman was “briefly detained after the incident” and prosecutors will determine if the woman will face charges when she appears in court at a later date.

Just last week, Starbucks told employees to let anyone use the restroom, even if they haven’t bought anything, as it reviews its policies and tries to restore its reputation after the arrest of two black men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia.

Rock and roll and fiddleheads

I gave my contractor three rock and roll music videos yesterday. They are the best and all Canadian.

The Last Waltz (sure the drummer and vocalist was from Alabama, but one spent his summers on the Six Nations reserve in my hometown of Brantford, Onatrio, that’s in Canada, and the bass player was from Simcoe, Ontario, also in Canada, about 30 miles south).

The other’s were Neil Young and Tragically Hip.

Every time we played hockey in Simcoe, me, the goalie, would get in a brawl.

I had a Last Waltz revival yesterday, and it made me ask, how do individuals or groups get so good, to create stuff that last for 50 years or longer.

And why do goalies get in fights?

To bring it back to Canadiana, the fiddlehead season is out there.

Julia Bayly of the Bangor Daily News reports that as foragers take to the woods and riverbanks in Maine to collect the spring’s first tender fiddlehead shoots, their counterparts across the border are being warned of health risks associated with this year’s wild crop.

Last week the New Brunswick Department of Health issued a warning that fiddleheads found growing in areas hit by the provinces’ record floods this spring may be contaminated and unfit to eat.

According to a report by the CBC, the ferns may have been exposed to raw sewage, fuel and chemicals leaked into the rivers during the flooding.

Maine fiddleheads are safe to eat.

Yeah, and it’s safe to play goalie with shitty equipment.

‘I’m married, I’m beautiful’ Mother’s Day goes bad in Canada

I love my mom. She makes it important to go see my Canadian daughters and her great-grandchildren, she is kind and giving and can also drive me crazy.

Like rearranging my kitchen when she visits.

Travis Jackson of Bayshore Broadcasting reports that two foodborne community outbreaks linked to the Lakeshore Recreation Centre are currently being investigated by the Grey Bruce Health Unit (that’s in Ontario, Canada)

Dozens of people reported being sick after eating the food on Saturday (May 12th) at the Billiards Banquet, and on Sunday (May 13th) at the Mother’s Day Brunch.
Public Media Relations Coordinator with the Grey Bruce Health Unit, Drew Ferguson, says that anyone who attended these events is being asked to contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

He says that the public are not at serious risk.

Can’t say that if you don’t know what caused it.

The Health Unit asks that you stay home if you think you may be sick. They are also requesting a stool sample from those affected