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Posted on Sat, Jun 4, 2011 : 9:58 a.m.

Bravo recalls pig ear treats due to salmonella contamination

By Lorrie Shaw


This pooch is tired out from chewing on a rubber chew toy designed for dogs. They are a relatively safe choice because they do not inherently contain salmonella. With any chew toy, dogs should be supervised during play due to the choking hazard.

flickr photo courtesy of vmiramontes

Pig ear treats are a popular choice to give dogs, and if you have any in your home, you'll want to double check the package (you did save the package, didn't you?).

Another purveyor of pig ears is at the center of another voluntary recall due to a possible health risk to your pets.

The recall was issued after a routine sampling program by the Washington State Department of Agriculture found finished products from the company contained the bacteria salmonella.

Bravo, a leader in the raw pet food industry said Friday that the voluntary recall involves 50-count bulk oven-roasted pig ears that were shipped to distributors and retailers on the East and West coasts between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 of this year.

Affected products include Bravo pig ears with the product code 75-121 and lot number 12-06-10.

At this time, no illnesses have been reported.

Cathy Theisen, DVM, a mobile veterinary doctor serving the Ann Arbor area, expands on why salmonella is a concern.

"It really depends on how much previous exposure to that strain of salmonella the dog has. Your average active dog has wolfed down goose poop, horse manure, drank and swum in infected ponds and eaten half-rotten road kill — all of which provided a likely dose of salmonella bacterium. Those dogs are often effectively immune, having been exposed to nonlethal doses over a lifetime," she said.

While this gives some level of immunity, it's important to remember that there are different strains of salmonella, and your pet has likely not been exposed to all of them. Keeping that in mind, it's important to first of all keep on top of reported pet food recalls and not allow your pet to consume things that are infected by the bacteria, regardless of the source.

"That said," Theisen continues, "I would never knowingly feed a dog a diet infected with salmonella. This may be high doses of the bacteria and also a strain of bacteria that the dog hasn't encountered in its local environment. If the dog is susceptible, the consequences can be quite severe, and even fatal, especially for dogs who have no previous exposure. If the dog is showing symptoms, it should be treated immediately."

Pet food and treat recalls are updated here on's pet section as they are released, and as it turns out, salmonella is the most common reason for recalls and both pets and humans are susceptible. It can affect raw and kibble-based diets alike, and for that reason, the precautions with each are the same.

The number one day-to-day precaution: Proper hand washing techniques after handling the products.

There are more than 2,000 strains of salmonella. Very young and very old pets are most susceptible to the bacteria and suffer the effects most profoundly. The most common symptoms associated with salmonella are vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Companion animals presenting with symptoms are treated with IV fluids and antibiotics.

Consumers who purchased the recalled pig ears should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Contact Bravo at 866-922-9222 or go to the company's website to read more about the recall.

Past pet product recall information is available here.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Contact her by e-mail and follow her pet adventures on Twitter.