Animal advocates have been warning potential dog owners to avoid getting puppies from retail pet stores because they come from large scale, for profit breeding operations known as puppy mills.
Now there’s another reason to say no to pet store puppies.
A report on the American Veterinarian website notes that 118 people in 18 states have become infected with the Campylobacter jejuni bacteria after being exposed to pet store puppies. These puppies were traced to multiple puppy mills and distributors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been monitoring the outbreak, virtually all of the infected humans have had direct physical contact with pet store puppies, including several pet store employees.
The Campylobacter bacteria causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. No human fatalities have been reported with this outbreak, although there were several hospitalizations.
The CDC reports an added concern with this outbreak…the bacteria has shown a resistance to all the antibiotics commonly used to treat Campylobacter.
The CDC recommends that people wash their hands thoroughly after touching pet store puppies (employees should wear gloves for cleaning) and avoid eating around the animals.
They also note that overuse of antibiotics in commercial breeding facilities can contribute to drug resistant bacterial strains, and the use of antibiotics should always be supervised by a veterinarian.