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Christopher Melluso Elizabeth Higgins FDA/CVM State of New Mexico

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Pet Event Tracking Network (PETNet). Christopher Melluso Elizabeth Higgins FDA/CVM State of New Mexico. History. PETNet originated at the “Gateway to Food Protection” 50-State meeting held in August, 2008

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Pet Event Tracking Network


Christopher Melluso Elizabeth Higgins

FDA/CVM State of New Mexico



  • PETNet originated at the “Gateway to Food Protection” 50-State meeting held in August, 2008
  • The Outbreaks/Food-Borne and Feed-Borne Investigations Workgroup at the meeting created a subgroup consisting of veterinarians, animal feed regulators, and others involved with animal health issues
  • This subgroup developed and proposed the concept for a system to detect, investigate and report disease outbreaks in companion animals
  • This subgroup named the system “Pet Event Tracking Network” or “PETNet”

Original Concept for PETNet

  • Surveillance systems and mechanisms for detecting disease outbreaks in companion animals
  • Adequate veterinary diagnostic laboratory infrastructure to support disease outbreak investigations
  • Epidemiological investigations of disease outbreaks in companion animals

Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

PETNet Working Group

Determining the partners and merging them

Funding the project, both initial and long term

Ownership of PETNet

Jurisdictions of PETNet members

Regulatory and legal issues for PETNet

Information Technology needs

Original concept was enormous in scope

PETNet Challenges

Melamine as a Model

What was unique about the melamine incident?

What lessons were learned?

How could PETNet improve?

Melamine incident was unique

Widespread foodborne intoxication of companion animals.

Causative agents were not easily, readily or previously identified as toxins.

The incident involved all the states.

Lessons Learned

During the melamine incident many States provided information to FDA

The way FDA shares information collected from the States and from other sources needs improvement

States need timely and complete information from FDA to support their own investigations and regulatory actions

How could PETNet improve?

PETNet needed to find a way to give states access to the information FDA collects

The states then have access not only to their own information but that of other states and FDA

The states would be able to see the same initial picture the FDA was seeing

The states have the information to exercise their own regulatory authority

petnet scope
PETNet Scope

Multiple teleconferences and a face to face meeting

By November 2009 the working group determined the scope for PETNet


Pet Event Tracking Network PETNet

  • Secure information exchange network
  • Federal and State regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over Pet Food Products
  • Allows States access to the same information for a foodborne disease outbreak in companion animals as the FDA and at the same time FDA gains access to the information
  • States have this information to exercise their regulatory authority

PETNet Basics

  • An alert system
  • Short concise reporting form
  • System is based in FoodSHIELD
  • Limited to Pet Food Products
  • Expandable

How PETNet Works

  • PETNet member completes reporting form and submits report to PETNet in FoodSHIELD
  • Report is archived and accessible
  • PETNet members can go to the report at their convenience
  • FoodSHIELD sends email alerts to all PETNet members
  • PETNet members can contact the reporter for additional information
Case number (assigned by PETNet)

Product identification

Product form identification

Manufacturer identification


Life stage

Clinical signs

Number exposed/affected

Laboratory data available to share (Y or N)

State of report origin

Source of data

Reporter’s (PETNet member) contact info

Streamlined Data Points


Data Quality

  • Reports are simple
  • Reports are concise
  • Reports are not submitted by consumers
  • Reports are submitted by regulatory professionals based on their assessment of what they are seeing in their jurisdictions

Invitations to PETNet

  • CVM will invite each State
  • State veterinarian, feed control officials and State diagnostic lab official
  • States are encouraged to respond by September 1, 2010