• antibiotic resistance;
  • pet chews;
  • prevalence;
  • Salmonella


Aims:  To survey the prevalence of Salmonella in imported and domestic pet chews for assessing their potential in introducing novel pathogenic and antimicrobial resistant Salmonella serotype clones into New Zealand, and as vehicles of salmonellosis in the domestic home environment.

Methods and Results:  Three hundred samples, each of imported and domestic pet chews, were examined bacteriologically for the presence of Salmonella. Salmonella cells in the pre-enrichment culture were concentrated by using Dynabeads®, and then selective enrichment and plating were performed by a method described in the Bacteriological and Analytical Manual, USFDA. Salmonella was isolated from 16 (5·3%) of the imported and 20 (6·7%) of the domestic pet chews, but the prevalences of Salmonella in imported and domestic products were not significantly different. All Salmonella isolates were serotyped and genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and antimicrobial susceptibility determined by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute disc diffusion methods. Salmonella Borreze has never been recorded earlier in New Zealand and was detected from Australian raw hide. Three isolates of Salmonella London were resistant to ampicillin and gentamicin, and two isolates of Salmonella Infantis were resistant to nalidixic acid, one of which was also resistant to streptomycin.

Conclusions:  Novel pathogenic and antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella are being introduced into New Zealand through the import of pet chews. This indicates that pet chews are a potential source of exposure to Salmonella in the domestic home environment.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Contaminated pet chews are potential sources of Salmonella infection for domestic pets, and humans are at risk of exposure either directly by contact through handling or inadvertently by cross-contamination of food or food-contact surfaces in home environments.