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Salmonellosis in Cats

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease that most commonly causes enteritis (inflammation of the intestines), septicemia (systemic disease due to the presence of bacteria or their toxin in the bloodstream) and abortions. It is not uncommon for the infected individual to be a subclinical carrier, which is a carrier with no symptoms.

Salmonellosis is caused by any one of more than 2000 serotypes (subtypes) of the Salmonellae bacteria. It is seen in both dogs and cats. In cats, salmonella is most commonly seen in adults who are under a great deal of stress, such as those with concurrent disease or cramped housing.

What to Watch For

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea (with or without blood)
  • Abdominal pain

    Diagnosis

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal flotation
  • Platelet count
  • Screening thoracic (chest) and abdominal radiographs (X-rays)
  • Fecal Culture
  • Blood Culture

    Treatment

  • Depending on the severity of clinical signs, treatment options may include out patient care or may necessitate hospitalization. Affected individuals are contagious, and should be kept in isolation and handled carefully.

  • Food restriction may be recommended for those patients with severe gastrointestinal signs. Supportive care, to include fluid and electrolyte therapy, and/or intestinal adsorbents and protectants, may be indicated.

  • Antibiotic therapy may be indicated in certain cases, but contraindicated in others.

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer all medication and return for follow-up fecal cultures as directed by your veterinarian. Prognosis varies depending on the individual and associated conditions. Be aware that salmonellosis is contagious to others animals and people.

    Keep animals vaccinated and feed a good quality food. Keep the environment clean and disinfected. Properly store feed and utensils. Isolate and screen/monitor for sickness in new additions to the household or cattery.

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