Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms in humans. But salmonella can infect animals like birds, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and even dogs. Today, our Diamond Bar vets discuss salmonella in dogs, the symptoms to watch for, and treatment options.
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.
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 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.
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?
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.
How is salmonella in dogs treated?
Salmonella treatment is determined by the clinical signs of the dog. 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.