August 5, 2013 posted by Editor
By Karen A. Soukiasian
It appears pet foods recalls are becoming a common occurrence. Most of us have taken it for granted, pet foods made in the U.S.A. would be safe. Obviously, this is not true. And tainted dog foods expose your pet to diseases like salmonella.
What Is Salmonellosis?
Salmonellosis is the infection caused by contact with the Salmonella bacteria. It can cause gastroenteritis and septicemia (intestinal and blood infections.) It occurs when your dog is exposed to contaminated foods, treats, soil, water, raw and/or undercooked meats and commonly found in pig ears.
It is a zoonotic disease. That means it can be passed back and forth between the animals and humans. Your dog can continue to shed the infected bacteria long after they have become infected. Shedding occurs through feces and saliva.
The incubation period is as a rule between 12-36 hours.
It can be life threatening, especially for puppies, senior dogs, dogs with compromised immune systems and/or on prolonged antibiotic treatments. Dehydration is the most common cause of death. That is why immediate treatment, especially re-hydration is vitally important.
Signs and Symptom of Salmonella Poisoning
It is always important to be familiar with your dog’s baseline health. By knowing that, you can sometimes be aware of even the most subtle changes, before they become too serious.
Watch for: vomiting, fever, lack of appetite, dehydration, lethargy, electrolyte reduction, hypoglycemia, difficulty urinating, unusual vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, rapid heart rate, stiffness, joint pains, skin problems, swollen lymph nodes, gurgling stomach, weight loss, swollen eyes, and shock. This infection can also cause spontaneous abortion and miscarriages.
How is Salmonella Diagnosed?
Fecal, urine and blood tests taken by your veterinarian are used to make the diagnosis. Be sure to keep your receipts, so you can contact the dog food manufacturer for financial compensation, if your pet has eaten a recalled product.
What Are The Treatments For Salmonella Poisoning?
It is important to seek a diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. The longer the symptoms are ignored, the more serious the situation will become. It can be life threatening.
Unless the infection has become extremely serious or life threatening, most treatments made be done out-patient. They include, restrict feeding for 2-3 days, plenty of fluids, antimicrobial treatments, glucocorticoid treatment to prevent shock, reduced activities and plenty of rest. Some veterinarians may prescribe antibiotic treatment, to prevent secondary infections.
Serious cases may require your animal to spend a few days at the vet, to receive I.V. fluid treatments and/or blood transfusions.
Who Is at Risk?
All dogs are at risk. However, age and a dog’s general health have a lot to do with their level of risk and the seriousness should they become infected. Puppies, seniors, dogs in ill health, on prolonged antibiotic treatments, and those suffering from compromised immune systems have a higher risk factor.
You are also at risk. Keep in mind, this is a zoonotic disease. It can be passed back and forth between pet and people. It is highly recommended to wash your hands with hot water and soap, after touching any dog food, and especially after touching your dog, should they be infected.
Controlling the Risk of Infection
To control the risk of your dog contacting salmonella poisoning, watch for food and treat recalls, avoid contact with infected dogs, do not give pig ears as treats, sterilize water and food bowls with bleach daily. Disinfect furniture, floors, kennels, and crates with bleach. Do not allow your dog to drink or play in standing water or ponds. Wash your hands often.
Bottom Line: Salmonella poisoning is serious and can be fatal. Take the necessary precautions. Watch for dog food and treat recalls. Be aware of the risk of raw diets and undercooked meats. Seek veterinary help immediately, if you suspect your dog may be infected. Treatments are available and successful, if caught early.
Stay up to date with the latest pet food recalls.
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This article is posted and shared with the permission of Sara Hansen of Dog’s Best Life