Salmonella has been found in supplies of some frozen feeder rodents (mice) used as food for animals therefore, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a product recall (9th December 2021) available here. The items affected are usually used as reptile food, especially snakes, but may also be fed to birds and mammals.
It is anticipated that following the recall, and subsequent suspension of supply, there will be shortages of some frozen rodents used for animal feed across the UK, particularly food for snakes which feed almost exclusively on mammals. It is not known how long the shortage may last but it may last for up to 3-4 months.
To mitigate any potential welfare issues caused by food shortage, vets in practice can direct affected clients to the Companion Animal Sector Council (CASC) where guidance on how to manage the welfare of their pet has been jointly produced by Government, welfare organisations and veterinary associations such as BSAVA, BVA and BVZS. The Guidance can be found here.
Due to the presence of salmonella, products present a risk to owners either through direct handling of the products, or indirectly, for example from handling infected reptiles, their vivarium, utensils or contact with the faeces of these animals. Therefore, vets in practice may wish to advise pet owners of what action to take to mitigate the risk of zoonosis by adhering to FSA guidance available here.
Further detailed advice and information is available in the CASC website.