An ongoing outbreak of listeriosis in people in Canada has been linked to prepared meat products from Ontario. At least six deaths have been reported, and others are under investigation. While it is unlikely that there has been widespread exposure of dogs and cats, it is certainly possible that some pets were fed the recalled (and potentially contaminated) meat.
Listeriosis is an infection caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. It can affect many animal species, but it is rarely identified as a cause of disease in dogs and cats. When signs do occur, fever, diarrhea and vomiting are most commonly reported. Rare cases of neurological disease in dogs and cats, and one case of suspected miscarriage in a dog due to listeriosis have been reported. Listeria skin infection has also been reported in dogs.
Overall, the risk of listeriosis in pets associated with the tainted meat products is very low. Pets that ate any of the recalled food products do NOT need to be tested or treated if they are not ill. However, should a pet that ate recalled meat become ill, it is important to inform the animal’s veterinarian about the potential exposure to Listeria.