Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Puppies sold at Petland linked to multi-state Campylobacter outbreak

Puppies sold at Petland linked to multi-state Campylobacter outbreak

As of September 11, 2017, the outbreak includes 39 cases in 7 states (Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin). There have been nine hospitalizations and no deaths reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory findings have linked the outbreak to contact with puppies sold through Petland stores. The other 27 either recently bought a puppy at Petland, or visited a Petland store or a home with a puppy purchased at Petland.

Most cases of campylobacteriosis are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry or meat, or from cross-contamination of these and other foods.

While puppies and dogs with a campylobacter infection might have diarrhea, vomiting, or a fever, just like humans, they also sometimes show no signs of illness.

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Most cases are isolated, and not as part of an outbreak, says the CDC.

The CDC has not publicly released lists of which Petland locations are involved and Petland spokeswoman Elizabeth Kunzelman said the federal agency has not told Petland either. More than 200 cities and counties have enacted laws that ban pet shops from selling puppies from so-called puppy mill. Petland refuted the Animal Legal Defense Fund's claims as baseless and exhausted, according to the report. It is now the only major national chain selling dogs from commercial breeders. Watson called the lawsuit's allegations "baseless".

Regardless of where they are from, any puppies and dogs may carry Campylobacter germs.

"Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously", the statement said.

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Watson said Petland's veterinarians probably would not have tested puppies for Campylobacter unless they were exhibiting symptoms. Since the infection can be silent, the CDC cautions pet owners to carefully wash their hands after cleaning up their dog, as the Campylobacter bacteria spreads through contact with dog poop.

Watson said the company's health warranty typically provides for veterinary treatment for various bacterial, viral and congenital issues, and so would cover vet-related costs for customers whose puppies were infected with the bacteria.

Petland is cooperating with the CDC, the agency reports.

As of today, 39 cases have been identified in the United States, with the most recent being reported on September 1, and the oldest being recorded on September 15, 2016.

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Campylobacter is the most common illness that humans contract from both dogs and cats, according to the CDC. OH has seen 18 cases, Florida 11, Pennsylvania, two, and Wisconsin and Tennessee with one apiece.

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