Dogs, cats, raw meat risk factors for ocular toxoplasmosis in Brazil

Ferreira, et al report in Epidemiology & Infection the aim of this study was to investigate risk factors for ocular toxoplasmosis (OT) in patients who received medical attention at a public health service.

Three hundred and forty-nine consecutive patients, treated in the Outpatient Eye Clinic of Hospital de Base, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo state, dogcat2012Brazil, were enrolled in this study. After an eye examination, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies.

The results showed that 25·5% of the patients were seronegative and 74·5% were seropositive for IgG anti-T. gondii antibodies; of these 27·3% had OT and 72·7% had other ocular diseases (OOD). The presence of cats or dogs [odds ratio (OR) 2·22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·24–3·98, P = 0·009] and consumption of raw or undercooked meat (OR 1·77, 95% CI 1·05–2·98, P = 0·03) were associated with infection but not with the development of OT. Age (OT 48·2 ± 21·2 years vs. OOD: 69·5 ± 14·7 years, P < 0·0001) and the low level of schooling/literacy (OT vs. OOD: OR 0·414, 95% CI 0·2231–0·7692, P = 0·007) were associated with OT.

The presence of dogs and cats as well as eating raw/undercooked meat increases the risk of infection, but is not associated with the development of OT.

FDA says 500 dogs killed by jerky treats

JoNel Aleccia of NBC News reports some 500 dogs and nine cats may have died after eating chicken jerky pet treats made in China, according to updated complaints logged by federal veterinary health officials.

A new tally of reports filed with the Food and Drug Administration shows the agency has received 2,674 reports of illness involving 3,243 dogs, including 501 deaths. The agency also has received reports of Purina-Waggin-Train-Yam-Good-Treatsnine illnesses in cats, including one death, the FDA said.

That’s up from an estimated 2,200 reports of illness, 360 dog deaths and one cat death reported last summer. So far, though, FDA has not been able to confirm a link between the treats and the ailments. 

The new figures come less than a week after two of the largest retailers of pet chicken jerky treats issued voluntary recalls of several popular brands after New York state agriculture officials detected unapproved antibiotics in the products.

Nestle Purina PetCare Co. recalled its popular Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats, and Del Monte Corp. officials recalled their Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats from shelves nationwide.

Poisoned dog’s vomit sends four to Colorado hospital with breathing problems

Norovirus can easily be aerosolized and sicken others when people barf.

Apparently the same applies to dog vomit.

The Daily News reports a dying dog’s vomit sent four people to the hospital in Colorado — an incident possibly triggered by a chemical used in rat poison.

The puke examined at the Vail Valley Animal Hospital in Friday’s poisoning likely contained zinc phosphate, commonly found in rat bait, the Eagle River Fire Protection District said.

“When the pesticide comes into contact with water, it forms a toxic gas,” said fire inspector Gail McFarland, according to the Vail Daily. “When the dog threw up, this released the gas as the pesticide had mixed with the contents in the dog’s stomach.”

The dog, which later died, had been brought to the Edwards-based clinic for treatment. Its owner wasn’t identified, and it was unclear where it came into contact with the chemical.

The fumes from the vomit caused three people to show signs of “respiratory distress,” while a fourth person was also taken to the hospital as a precaution. Their conditions weren’t immediately known Sunday.

Cases of veterinary workers getting poisoned by dogs that have ingested pesticides are not uncommon.

To protect themselves, animal experts say, workers should induce vomiting outdoors and stand upwind from the potential fumes.

Smuggled food poses foot-and-mouth risk in Australia

Australians take disease control at the border seriously. Fly into any Aussie airport from overseas and your contents will be scrutinized; they also have some of the best dog snifferes anywhere, and they’re everywhere. There’s even a reality show about customs control.

So it’s no surprise a senate inquiry has heard banned food is being smuggled into Australia from countries with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), jeopardising Australia’s agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) told a senate estimates hearing on Monday that smuggled goods posed a real risk to Australia, which has been free of FMD for more than 100 years.

Among the tonnes of illegal imports seized in raids this year have been food products, including more than 760kg of ice cream, from FMD countries.

The warning comes after a company director pleaded guilty in a Brisbane court last week to having dealt with illegally imported meat and dairy products from South Korea.

DAFF, in conjunction with Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and trading partners, has been running targeted campaigns, random cargo inspections and a hotline to crack down on illegal food imports.

One such campaign, known as Operation Hayride, was set up after DAFF uncovered during a routine inspection in late 2010, evidence of the deliberate import of banned foods.

DAFF selected 225 targets for inspection and raided more than 300 retail premises, discovering 132 tonnes of banned goods including meat and dairy products.

“One of the benefits with Operation Hayride was when you start digging you get more leads as you go,” said DAFF’s Tim Chapman from the Border Compliance Division.

Evidence from this saw company director Yoo Young Jack Kim last week sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for importing banned food from South Korea.

Iowa town launches ‘pick up the poo’ campaign

They found my passport. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa. About six hours after I cancelled it via the nice folks at the Canadian consulate in Dallas.

Cedar Rapids is also finding a lot of E. coli in area streams and figure some of that is coming from doggie doo.

The City of Cedar Rapids claims the roughly two tons of pet waste produced in Cedar Rapids every day is contributing to water pollution in the city.

To fight the fecal problem, Cedar Rapids launched a ‘pick-up the poo pledge’ to encourage dog owners to clean up dog droppings. City employees passed out information on runoff to pet owners and asked them to sign a pledge to pick-up after their pooches.

To learn more about improving and protecting water quality visit

Restaurant to be vigilant against doggy butt infractions after warning

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I scan celebrity trash news sites like TMZ looking for food safety ledes.


And this is the unacceptable version of doggy dining.

Celebtard Aubrey O’Day’s decision to let her dogs rub their butts all over the table at a popular L.A. eatery last week has triggered a Health Dept. investigation, TMZ has learned, because, quite frankly, it’s disgusting.

TMZ broke the story, the "Celebrity Apprentice" star let her puppys wag their naked asses all over her table at Toast for several minutes, before finally putting the poochies on the ground.


Now, a rep for the L.A. Public Health Dept. tells TMZ, a health inspector has visited the restaurant to remind employees about pet guidelines, specifically the one that reads, "Pets shall not be allowed on chairs, seats, benches and tables."

The rep adds, "The Health Dept would like people to enjoy eating with their pets, but we also want people to be respectful to other people."

We’re told the staff was quite receptive to the official, and no citations or warnings were issued.

A rep for Toast tells us the restaurant will be "extremely vigilant" about future potential anal infractions.

Pet dogs—A transmission route for human noroviruses? (and vice-versa)

A new paper in the Journal of Clinical Virology by Maija Summa, Carl-Henrik von Bonsdorff, and Leena Maunula investigates the role of pet dogs as sources of norovirus. Abstract below:

Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are one of the leading causes of diarrhoeal diseases worldwide in all age groups. Virus transmission can occur via the faecal-oral route from person to person or via contaminated food, water, or surfaces. The most common NoV strains circulating among humans belong to genogroup GII. Thus far, to our knowledge, no HuNoVs have been detected in pets.

We investigated whether pet dogs could serve as carriers for HuNoVs and thereby transmit the infection to humans.

Ninety-two faecal samples of indoor pet dogs were obtained. The main criteria for sample collection were that the dog or humans in the household had suffered from diarrhoea or vomiting. All samples were screened for HuNoV genogroups GI, GII, and GIV by real-time one-step RT-PCR.

We detected HuNoV in four faecal samples from pet dogs that had been in direct contact with symptomatic persons. Three of the positive samples contained genotype GII.4 variant 2006b or 2008 and one GII.12. All NoV-positive dogs lived in households with small children and two dogs showed mild symptoms.

Our results suggest that HuNoVs can survive in the canine gastrointestinal tract. Whether these viruses can replicate in dogs remains unresolved, but an association of pet dogs playing a role in transmission of NoVs that infect humans is obvious.

Gonzalo Erdozain: Pick up after pets; windy city clear about zoonoses

Stepping in dog poop is annoying, but the health hazard is unknowingly ingesting or contact with the poop.

While walking around Chicago, I came across this sign that is unique in its clarity: Pet waste transmits disease (right, exactly as shown).

It goes straight to the point and informs the public of the real reason behind the need to clean after our pets in public places.

Dog poop can spread hookworms and roundworms, both of which can infect humans and have severe consequences: ocular larva migraines from roundworms; cutaneous larva migraines from hookworms.

Gonzalo Erdozain: water and soap are for sanitizing; dog tongues are for licking dogs

Scott Weese from Worms & Germs Blog said it best, “a dog’s tongue is not a medical device.”

According to an article by All Pet News (referencing a study by University of Florida Gainesville), in which risk for zoonotic transmission was obviously disregarded, treating human wounds with dog saliva leads to wounds healing twice as fast. It’s the perfect example of lab results being extrapolated into real world situations without proper knowledge or testing. Although dog saliva may have antibacterial properties and Nerve Growth Factor, you can’t conclude from lab-controlled experiments, using purified concentrated compounds, that a dog licking a wound is beneficial.

Lefebvre et al. (2006) published a paper titled “Prevalence of zoonotic agents in dogs visiting hospitalized people in Ontario: Implications for infection control,” in which zoonotic agents were isolated from 80 out of 102 (80%) dogs.

Clostridium difficile, was the most prevalent agent, isolated from 58 out of 102 (58%) fecal specimens, 71% of which were toxigenic. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase Escherichia coli was isolated from one dog, extended-spectrum cephalosporinase E. coli was isolated from three dogs, and organisms of the genus Salmonella were isolated from three dogs.

Common sense would state that if you use your dog’s saliva for wound healing, you probably wouldn’t be washing it after being licked. This would increase the risk for wounds in general to get infected, but if your wound is on your hand, you are also at a higher risk of getting you and others (via cross-contamination) infected with a zoonotic disease. I don’t know about laboratory dogs, but I know my dog spends a lot of time licking herself, including her rear end. So as cute as those images of dogs licking their owner’s face look on TV, I keep my dog’s tongue away from me.

Best in show: dog show leads to E. coli outbreak in Sweden

Around 50 dog owners and several dogs are believed to have been infected with enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) following a dog show in eastern Sweden.

"We’re right in the middle of investigating where the bacteria came from," Britt Åkerlind of the infectious disease unit of Östergötland County told The Local.

So far, two Swedes have been confirmed as infected by EHEC, one from Skåne in the south, and another from Gothenburg in the west.

"But we’re expecting more confirmed cases to come in," said Åkerlind.

Those infected with the bacteria all attended a dog show near Norrköping in eastern Sweden held the first weekend in June.

Of the roughly 120 participants, who traveled from all over Sweden as well as from Denmark, Norway, and Finland, about half have come down with symptoms stemming from EHEC infection.

"We’ve also received reports that some of the dogs have had upset stomachs," said Åkerlind, who labeled the outbreak as "quite large."