Kansas veterinarian says the same food safety rules that apply to humans also apply to pets

When I got fired as a full professor from Kansas State University in 2013, my department chair actually kept a straight face as he said, if I didn’t show up on campus, he would have no choice, and that “I didn’t work well with others.”

Bureaucratic BS.

They wanted my salary, didn’t like what I said to cattle folks, and started a whole on-line thingy I had proposed after getting dumped.

Best and brightest get promoted.

There were several colleagues in the college of veterinary medicine I worked quite well with.

One was Kate KuKanich, associate professor of clinical sciences in Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

We hit the road and did handwashing studies in hospitals, co-supervized vet students who did cool investigative work on petting zoos, and she brought us duck eggs.

Kate made K-State’s Thanksgiving of PR, and full kudos for going through the process.

“Thanksgiving is a time when a lot of people think that giving tidbits of the food to pets it thoughtful. A small piece of turkey breast, which is low in fat and salt, is OK for a dog or cat in moderation. But, because we love our pets, we can often overdo it and ignore food safety rules that affect both our health and the health of our pets.”

Each year around Thanksgiving, KuKanich and colleagues at Kansas State University’s Small Animal Hospital treat multiple cats and dogs that have pancreatitis — an inflammation of the pancreas. The condition often manifests in pets that have eaten fatty human foods, such as meat trimmings and bacon, rather than their normal diet. Foods high in salt can be hazardous to pets with heart disease.

I thought it was drunks that got pancreatitis.

KuKanich advises pet owners to keep pets’ meals and treats as normal as possible during the holidays in order to avoid a recipe for disaster. She also said that the same food safety rules that apply to humans also apply to pets. These include:

  • Turkey and other meats must be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before dogs, cats and humans eat it. Raw and undercooked meats as well as their juices can contain germs that can cause serious illness in both people and animals.

“Sometimes people think that it’s OK to give a pet raw or undercooked meat because pets’ ancestors come from the wild,” KuKanich said. “Any raw meat, such as the gizzard of the turkey, can make our pets sick because they can be contaminated with bacteria. A meat thermometer is best way to know our meats are food safe and cooked to the proper temperature for everyone’s safety.”

  • Bones, such as a hambone, drumstick or rib, also can be dangerous because they can become lodged in the esophagus of dogs, requiring emergency endoscopy or surgical removal.
  • Pet owners should wash their hands in warm, sudsy water before and after feeding their pet. Pets’ food and water bowls and measuring cups used to dispense their food also should be cleaned regularly.

“Handwashing prior to cooking, eating and food storage is important to keep food and family members safe,” KuKanich said. “It also is a good idea to either avoid petting our furry friends during food prep and meals or to wash hands frequently so that we keep both the food and the pets safe.”

  • Juices from raw turkey and other meats will contaminate anything it touches in the kitchen, including counter space, utensils, other food and pet dishes.
  • Pets and people should not eat cooked and dairy-based food that has been sitting at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. Two hours is the longest food should sit at room temperature before it is refrigerated or frozen, according to a food safety specialist at Kansas State University Olathe.

Additionally, while sweets and deserts may affect our waistline, they can be hazardous to an animal.

Kate’s got the basics right.

Kansas State is fortunate to have her.

Our publications can be found on-line.

Incidence of campy in pets and petting zoos

Animal contact is a potential transmission route for campylobacteriosis, and both domestic household pet and petting zoo exposures have been identified as potential sources of exposure.

courtlynn.petting.zooResearch has typically focussed on the prevalence, concentration, and transmission of zoonoses from farm animals to humans, yet there are gaps in our understanding of these factors among animals in contact with the public who don’t live on or visit farms.

This study aims to quantify, through a systematic review and meta-analysis, the prevalence and concentration of Campylobacter carriage in household pets and petting zoo animals. Four databases were accessed for the systematic review (PubMed, CAB direct, ProQuest, and Web of Science) for papers published in English from 1992–2012, and studies were included if they examined the animal population of interest, assessed prevalence or concentration with fecal, hair coat, oral, or urine exposure routes (although only articles that examined fecal routes were found), and if the research was based in Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Studies were reviewed for qualitative synthesis and meta-analysis by two reviewers, compiled into a database, and relevant studies were used to create a weighted mean prevalence value. There were insufficient data to run a meta-analysis of concentration values, a noted study limitation.

The mean prevalence of Campylobacter in petting zoo animals is 6.5% based on 7 studies, and in household pets the mean is 24.7% based on 34 studies. Our estimated concentration values were: 7.65x103cfu/g for petting zoo animals, and 2.9x105cfu/g for household pets. These results indicate that Campylobacter prevalence and concentration are lower in petting zoo animals compared with household pets and that both of these animal sources have a lower prevalence compared with farm animals that do not come into contact with the public.

There is a lack of studies on Campylobacter in petting zoos and/or fair animals in Canada and abroad. Within this literature, knowledge gaps were identified, and include: a lack of concentration data reported in the literature for Campylobacter spp. in animal feces, a distinction between ill and diarrheic pets in the reported studies, noted differences in shedding and concentrations for various subtypes of Campylobacter, and consistent reporting between studies.

 

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the Campylobacter spp. prevalence and concentration in household pets and petting zoo animals for use in exposure assessments

18.dec.15

PLoS ONE 10(12): e0144976

Pintar KDM, Christidis T, Thomas MK, Anderson M, Nesbitt A, Keithlin J, et al.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144976

 

It’s in poop: Campylobacter jejuni in urban wild birds and pets in New Zealand

Greater attention has been given to Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) prevalence in poultry and ruminants as they are regarded as the major contributing reservoirs of human campylobacteriosis.

sadie.dog.powellHowever, relatively little work has been done to assess the prevalence in urban wild birds and pets in New Zealand, a country with the highest campylobacteriosis notification rates. Therefore, the aim of the study was to assess the faeco-prevalence of C. jejuni in urban wild birds and pets and its temporal trend in the Manawatu region of New Zealand.

Findings: A repeated cross-sectional study was conducted from April 2008 to July 2009, where faecal samples were collected from 906 ducks, 835 starlings, 23 Canadian goose, 2 swans, 2 pied stilts, 498 dogs and 82 cats. The faeco-prevalence of C. jejuni was 20% in ducks, 18% in starlings, 9% in Canadian goose, 5% in dogs and 7% in cats. The faeco-prevalence of C. jejuni was relatively higher during warmer months of the year in ducks, starlings and dogs while starlings showed increased winter prevalence. No such trend could be assessed in Canadian goose, swans, pied stilts and cats as samples could not be collected for the entire study period from these species.

Conclusions: This study estimated the faeco-prevalence of C. jejuni in different animal species where the prevalence was relatively high during warmer months in general. However, there was relative increase in winter prevalence in starlings.

The urban wild bird species and pets may be considered potential risk factors for human campylobacteriosis in New Zealand, particularly in small children.

Faeco-prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni in urban wild birds and pets in New Zealand

BMC Research Notes 2015, 8:1

 

 

Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and toxigenic E. coli in various pet foods

The Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), in collaboration with the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and its Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program (MCAP) laboratories, conducted a study to evaluate the prevalence of selected microbial organisms in various types of pet foods.

sadie.car.10The goal of this blinded study was to help the Center for Veterinary Medicine prioritize potential future pet food–testing efforts. The study also increased the FERN laboratories’ screening capabilities for foodborne pathogens in animal feed matrices, since such pathogens may also be a significant health risk to consumers who come into contact with pet foods. Six U.S. Food and Drug Administration FERN MCAP laboratories analyzed approximately 1056 samples over 2 years.

Laboratories tested for Salmonella, Listeria, Escherichia coli O157:H7 enterohemorrhagic E. coli, and Shiga toxin–producing strains of E. coli (STEC). Dry and semimoist dog and cat foods purchased from local stores were tested during Phase 1. Raw dog and cat foods, exotic animal feed, and jerky-type treats purchased through the Internet were tested in Phase 2. Of the 480 dry and semimoist samples, only 2 tested positive: 1 for Salmonella and 1 for Listeria greyii. However, of the 576 samples analyzed during Phase 2, 66 samples were positive for Listeria (32 of those were Listeria monocytogenes) and 15 samples positive for Salmonella. These pathogens were isolated from raw foods and jerky-type treats, not the exotic animal dry feeds. This study showed that raw pet foods may harbor food safety pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. Consumers should handle these products carefully, being mindful of the potential risks to human and animal health.

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. Volume: 11 Issue 9: September 4, 2014

Sarah M. Nemser, Tara Doran, Michael Grabenstein, Terri McConnell, Timothy McGrath, Ruiqing Pamboukian, Angele C. Smith, Maya Achen, Gregory Danzeisen, Sun Kim, Yong Liu, Sharon Robeson, Grisel Rosario, Karen McWilliams Wilson, and Renate Reimschuessel

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2014.1748#utm_source=ETOC&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fpd

Cats and Cook and counters

Who knows what Captain James Kirk Cook saw when he first landed on Australia’s northern coast in May, 1770.

sorenne.cook.jul.14We spent a couple of days at Agnes Water, just south of the Town of 1770, which became electrified in 1986.

But I know what I saw when I returned home: crazy cats.

A friend stayed in the house for a week, and apparently the cats had free reign.

I emerged from the toilet to find the fluffy male lollygagging on the kitchen counter.

I said get down, which is usually enough to instill fear.

He didn’t move.

Just gave me a cat look.

Eventually he got a swat on the ass and got down.

For food safety sakes, don’t let pets on counters.

cook.landing.aust.jul.14

124 sick, up from 72; five multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to small turtles

Turtles in the 1960s and 1970s were inexpensive, popular, and low maintenance pets, with an array of groovy pre-molded plastic housing designs to choose from. Invariably they would escape, only to be found days later behind the couch along with the skeleton of the class bunny my younger sister brought home from kindergarten one weekend.

Maybe I got sick from my turtle.

Maybe I picked up my turtle, rolled around on the carpet with it, pet it a bit, and then stuck my finger in my mouth. Maybe in my emotionally vacant adolescence I kissed my turtle. Who can remember?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports there are now 124 confirmed cases of people, primarily kids, infected with outbreak strains of five different Salmonella outbreak strains in 27 states.

There’s a country-wide love for turtles in 2012, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale and distribution of turtles less than 4 inches in size as pets since 1975.

Two new multistate outbreaks linked to small turtles have been identified since the prior update on April 5, 2012. Overall, 5 multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infection are linked with exposure to small turtles. Results of the epidemiologic and environmental investigations indicate exposure to turtles or their environments (e.g., water from a turtle habitat) is the cause of these outbreaks.

• A total of 124 persons infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella Sandiego ( and B), Salmonella Pomona (A and B), and Salmonella Poona have been reported from 27 states.

• Small turtles (shell length less than 4 inches) were reported by 92% of cases.

• Forty-three percent of ill persons with small turtles reported purchasing the turtles from street vendors.

• 19 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

• 67% of ill persons are children 10 years of age or younger.

• Small turtles (shell length less than 4 inches) were reported by 93% of cases with turtle exposure. Forty-three percent of ill persons with small turtles reported purchasing the turtles from street vendors.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (2), Alabama (1), Arizona (3), California (21), Colorado (5), Delaware (3), Georgia (3), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (6), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Nevada (4), New Jersey (7), New Mexico (3), New York (24), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (9), South Carolina (3), Texas (12), Virginia (3), Vermont (1), and West Virginia (1).

The complete update is available at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/small-turtles-03-12/index.html.

Infant in Ireland stricken with botulism from pet turtle, reptiles not suitable as pets for under fives

An infant in Ireland is recovering after a bout with botulism type E, most likely due to exposure to a pet turtle or turtle feed.

Dr Paul McKeown, a specialist in public health medicine at the national Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) warned that reptiles are not appropriate pets for children under the age of five.

Reptiles such as snakes, lizards, tortoises, turtles and terrapins have become extremely popular as pets, he said, but they require careful handling as they carry a range of germs that can lead to illness. Washing hands after touching them is very important.

“Given the risks, reptiles should not be kept as pets in a house where there are children under the age of five,” he added.

There are a number of different types of botulism toxin but the type which the baby picked up – type E – is so rare it was only the seventh case ever reported in an infant worldwide, the centre said.
 

Pets in the classroom program

That’s what veterinarian, blogger and OK hockey player Scott Weese explored in his latest Worms and Germs entry, reprinted below.

A recent press release from The Pet Care Trust reported on the status of its Classroom Program, which provides support to teachers to have pets in school classrooms. On the surface, it seems like a good idea, helping to enrich school activities. However, it’s one of those areas that can be good, but can also be very bad, depending how it’s applied.

The Pet Care Trust has some useful information about pets in classrooms, and anyone considering a pet in a classroom needs to be aware of a variety of concerns, including:

* Welfare of the pets (stress, adequate care, abuse…)
* Adequacy of pet care, particularly during weekends and holidays
* Problems with access to veterinary care
* Distraction of students
* Allergies
* Fear
* Infectious disease transmission

Infectious disease transmission from pets in classrooms is a real problem. Infections can and do occur. The risks are quite variable, and depending on the animal, children, classroom and pet care, can range from inconsequential to quite serious.

The type of animal is very important. Certain species are very high risk for carrying certain infectious diseases and for transmitting them to people. Reptiles are notorious for Salmonella and it is recommended that children under 5 years of age and immunocompromised individuals, among others, not have contact with reptiles. Even with older kids, there’s a risk and older kids have picked up Salmonella in classrooms from reptiles or their food (e.g. frozen rodents).

So, it’s concerning that 435 of the 2066 grants handed out by this program were for reptiles, and the program involved kindergarten to Grade 6 classrooms. A lot of reptiles went into classrooms with a lot of young kids. Typically, elementary school children (at least around here) eat in their classrooms, which raises the concern. While the majority of students would be 5 years of age or older, immunocompromised kids are not exactly uncommon, and it’s unclear whether teachers have adequate understanding about whether kids in their classes are immunocompromised and that this poses an increased risk.
I’m not saying pets in classrooms are a bad idea. However, it’s often done poorly and with little forethought. To be effective and safe, you need to consider many things, such as:

* What species should it be? From my standpoint, no reptiles or other high risk species should be in any classrooms because you can’t guarantee a high-risk person won’t be around. The animal needs to be small enough to be properly housed in a classroom. It’s care requirements need to be basic and readily met. It shouldn’t be a species that gets stressed easily and one that can tolerate all the activities that go on around it. A nocturnal species is probably not a good idea.
* What types of hygiene/infection control practices need to be used and how will they be enforced?
* What disease or injury (e.g. bite) risks are present and how will they be managed.
* Who will take care of it? This means who will take care of it for its lifespan, not just the upcoming school year.
* Who will arrange and pay for any medical expenses that arise, either for preventive medicine or treatment of disease?
* Will parents be notified?
* What happens if a kid in the class is allergy or afraid of the animal?
* Will proper supervision be available at all times?
* Who from the school or school board must give permission, and is there a standard approval process? (There should be, but there rarely is).
* Why is the animal going to be there? Will there be any educational use or it is just there for fun/decoration?

If you can answer all those questions adequately, then a pet might be a good fit in a classroom. If you can’t answer them, or can’t be bothered to try to answer them, then there’s no reason for a pet to be in a classroom.
 

Kevin Smith got kicked off a Southwest airplane for being fat; should pet owners be kicked off for being inconsiderate?

Movie director Kevin Smith, known for the witty and obscene dialogue in movies he’s penned like Clerks, Chasing Amy and Dogma, was deemed a flight risk by a Southwest airlines pilot last weekend and ordered off the plane.

"I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?" he ranted through his Twitter account to over 1.6 million followers.. "Again: I’m way fat… But I’m not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I’m seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN.”

Smith posted this pic of himself (above, right, exactly as shown) puffing out his cheeks and captioned it, "Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off!"

Another emerging issue on airplanes is those travelling with small pets.

An editorial in the current issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal notes that air travel has become increasingly difficult, with tightened security restrictions and a decreased number of services. But now Air Canada is adding to the difficulty by allowing small pets to travel airplane cabins.

Pets can be accommodated comfortably and safely in airplane cargo holds, which is where they belong. Airlines must choose to put the needs of their human passengers first, or be forced to do so.

Flying should not include avoidable health risks, especially, for passengers with allergies to pets. Many people with allergies to animals will have a reaction when they’re trapped in an enclosed space, often for hours.

The Canadian Transportation Agency ruled that people allergic to nuts should be considered to have a disability under the Canada Transportation Act and must therefore be accommodated. The agency is now receiving passenger complaints about pets on airplanes and considering whether those with allergies to pets should also be considered as having a disability. Such a finding would force Canadian airlines to safeguard passengers with pet allergies.
 

If I was a woman, P&G would be interested in me

Procter & Gamble is gunning for me.

With two dogs, two cats, hardwood floors, a 1-year-old and a wife who watches the Dog Whisperer on TV, I’m the target demographic for P&G’s new campaign to replace mops and brooms with Swiffer products, featuring celebrity spokesthingy Cesar Millan.

The New York Times reports that Swiffer, the 11-year-old Procter & Gamble brand, is hiring Mr. Millan to help with a different sort of behavior modification: getting consumers to forgo traditional floor cleaning devices and buy Swiffer products.

“Mops and brooms are really what we’re going after,” said Marchoe Northern, a Swiffer brand manager, adding that women were the target consumers. “It’s really about habit adaption at first — getting the Swiffer in her house — and then habit formation.”

P&G: I’m not a woman. I’m your target. Stop being so sexist.