CADILLAC — A statewide advisory has been placed on pig ear pet treats as they may be contaminated with salmonella.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a consumer advisory on July 3 for pig ears sold in bulk because there is a potential the treat is contaminated with salmonella.

MDARD is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention on an investigation to find the possible link between the bacteria and the pet treats, according to an MDARD press release.

The FDA is investigating 45 human cases of salmonella enterica serotype across multiple states. Many of these cases have reported exposure to pig ear pet treats, according to the FDA website.

Samples of bulk pig ears were collected by feed inspectors and tested positive for four other strands of salmonella, according to the FDA. The retailers have since pulled these bulk products from their shelves.

Individually wrapped or bagged pig ears were also sampled and tested negative for salmonella, according to the MDARD press release.

Acting Director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Jeffery Zimmer said it is not clear why some brands are testing positive while others have not and that pet owners should be cautious when giving pet pig ears.

"Pet owners should consider the possibility of Salmonella contaminating pig ear products before feeding them to their pets. As an added precaution, pet owners should wash their hands after handling pig ears," he said in the MDARD press release.

Pets infected with salmonella may be lethargic, have diarrhea, fever or vomiting. Some pets will have a decreased appetite and abdominal pain. However, exposed pets can be infected without showing symptoms.

If your pet has consumed this product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Infected animals can also shed Salmonella through their feces and saliva, spreading pathogens into the home environment and to humans and other animals in the household.

For more information, consumers can visit the FDA at www.fda.gov or the CDC at www.cdc.gov.