Salmonella is a bacteria that is known to cause gastrointestinal distress in humans, but many pet owners aren't aware that dogs can contract this illness as well. Today, our Hermitage vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of salmonella poisoning in dogs.
What Is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacteria that can infect many different animal species' gastrointestinal tracts. Salmonella is divided into two species, which are further subdivided into thousands of different strains (serovars). Each of these strains is slightly different, with some causing severe disease and others not causing infection at all.
Salmonella Poisoning in Dogs
Salmonella can affect our beloved dogs and cats too. 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.
Causes of Canine Salmonella Poisoning
Salmonella lives primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and is excreted in the feces of infected animals. Infection occurs when an uninfected animal consumes the bacteria. Some dogs may become infected after consuming some contaminated pet food, treats, or undercooked meat. Salmonella infections are most common in dogs who have a compromised immune system. Because puppies do not yet have a fully developed immune system, they are more likely to develop salmonellosis.
Salmonella Poisoning From Raw Chicken
Dogs can contract salmonella from ingesting raw chicken, but it's much less likely for dogs to get salmonella this way than it is for people. Your dog's gastrointestinal tract is much more tolerant of raw meats than the GI tract of humans, which is why this condition is less likely to occur in our canine companions.
Signs & Symptoms of Canine Salmonella Poisoning
Some of the most common signs 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.
More 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 Salmonella Is Diagnosed in Dogs
To begin, your veterinarian will go over the fundamentals. Your dog's medical history will likely be taken into consideration to help the veterinarian determine whether salmonella is a possible diagnosis. The veterinarian will then go over your dog's symptoms and perform 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.
Treating Salmonella in Dogs
Salmonella treatment is determined by your pup's signs and symptoms. Antibiotics may be used in severe cases or dogs with compromised immune systems, but they should be avoided in mild or asymptomatic cases.
Your veterinarian may also advise you on symptomatic treatments to alleviate the clinical signs of salmonellosis. Some strains are antibiotic-resistant and necessitate the use of specific antibiotics.
It's always best to speak with your vet directly and receive treatment options specific to your dog's case.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.