Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can lead to uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms in humans. However, it can also affect various animals, including dogs, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and rodents. Today, our vets at Los Angeles will provide valuable insights on salmonella infection in dogs, the warning signs to look out for, and the available treatment options.
What is salmonella?
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can infect the gastrointestinal tracts of various animal species. It is classified into two distinct species, each with thousands of different strains or serovars. These strains may vary in severity, with some causing severe illness and others being non-infectious.
Can dogs get salmonella?
Salmonella can infect household pets, including dogs (and even cats, if you were wondering). According to a 2017 study, 2.5 percent of all dogs tested had bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract. Only 55% of infected dogs in the study, however, showed signs of diarrhea at the time of testing. This means that nearly half of the participants had no symptoms but were spreading the infection asymptomatically. And yes, salmonella can be passed from dog to human, and vice-versa.
What causes salmonella in dogs?
Salmonella is a bacteria that resides in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and is excreted in their feces. When an uninfected animal consumes the bacteria, infection can occur. Dogs may contract salmonella by ingesting contaminated pet food, treats, or undercooked meat. The risk of infection is higher for dogs with weakened immune systems, including puppies who are more susceptible due to their underdeveloped immune system.
Can dogs get salmonella from raw chicken?
In short, yes, dogs can get salmonella from raw chicken. However, be aware that it is much less likely for dogs to get it from raw chicken than it would be for a human. Dogs are much more tolerant of raw meats than humans are, which is why infection is less likely.
Common Symptoms of Salmonella in Dogs
Some of the most common symptoms of salmonella in dogs include:
- Acute diarrhea
- Appetite loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Increased heart rate
If your dog is showing symptoms of salmonella, take them to the vet.
Severe Symptoms of Salmonella in Dogs
If your dog displays any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately or bring your dog to an emergency vet:
- Persistent fever
- Uncontrolled weight loss
- Blood loss
- Non-intestinal infections
- Prolonged diarrhea (lasting more than 3-4 weeks)
- Miscarriage in pregnant dogs (a rare symptom, but still a cause of concern)
How is salmonella diagnosed?
First, the veterinarian will review the basics. They will take your dog's medical history into account to assist in determining if salmonella is a potential diagnosis. After that, the veterinarian will discuss your dog's symptoms and conduct a physical examination.
If your vet suspects salmonella, they may run more diagnostic tests. These can include:
- Fecal cultures
- Blood work
- Blood cultures, if sepsis is present
Remember, take your dog to the vet if you suspect salmonella. The sooner you can get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin.
How is salmonella in dogs treated?
The treatment for Salmonella in dogs depends on their clinical signs. In severe cases or for dogs with weakened immune systems, antibiotics may be necessary.
However, for mild or asymptomatic cases, it's best to avoid antibiotics. Your veterinarian may suggest symptomatic treatments to alleviate the symptoms of salmonellosis.
Certain strains of Salmonella may require specific antibiotics due to antibiotic resistance. It's recommended to consult with your vet for treatment options tailored to your dog's individual case.