Salmonellosis in Cats

Overview of Salmonellosis in Cats

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 commonly referred to as “Salmonella” in cats.

Below is an overview on Salmonellosis in Cats followed by detailed in-depth information on the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

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

Diagnosis of Salmonellosis in Cats

Treatment of Salmonellosis in Cats

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.

In-depth Information on Salmonellosis in Cats

Salmonellosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease caused by many different types of the organism Salmonella. It can affect any age or breed of cat, however is most commonly seen in adult “stressed” cats. Salmonella is transmitted by contaminated water, food, or fomites (objects that can harbor transmit infection), and although it may cause severe clinical signs, individuals sometimes have no symptoms at all; Salmonella has been isolated from the feces of up to 25 percent of healthy cats.

Several risk factors can render an individual more susceptible to Salmonella, including their overall health status and environment; concurrent disease; administration of certain medications like corticosteroids or chemotherapy, which causes suppression of the immune system; and exposure to the organism. There are several scenarios after infection, including gastroenteritis (diarrhea, with or without blood); subtle nonspecific signs, such as lethargy, depression, anorexia, diarrhea and fever; abortion; bacteremia and endotoxemia, systemic disease due to the presence of bacteria or their toxin in the bloodstream; and asymptomatic carriage.

Because the signs are so variable with Salmonella, many disorders must initially be considered when these individuals present. Disorders that must be ruled out include:

Other Diseases That Cause Diarrhea in Cats

A host of infectious agents that cause gastrointestinal signs need to be differentiated from Salmonella. These include:

Other Disorders That Cause Fever in Cats

Other Disorders That Cause Abortion in Cats

Diagnosis In-depth

Certain diagnostic tests must be performed for a definitive diagnosis of salmonellosis and to exclude other disease processes that may cause similar symptoms. A complete history, description of clinical signs, and thorough physical examination are all important for obtaining a diagnosis. In addition, the following tests are recommended to confirm a diagnosis:

Your veterinarian may require additional tests to ensure optimal medical care. These are selected on a case by case basis:

Therapy In-depth

Appropriate therapy for canine salmonellosis varies according to the type and severity of clinical illness. Depending on the severity of clinical signs and/or stage of disease, hospitalization may or may not be recommended. Patients who are septicemic, or who have severe vomiting and/or diarrhea, fever, and or dehydration are hospitalized for aggressive treatment and stabilization. Stable patients can be treated as outpatients as long as they are monitored closely for response to therapy, and handled properly, keeping them quiet, comfortable, and most importantly, isolated. With appropriate therapy, most patients do quite well.

It is important that all recommendations by your veterinarian are followed very closely, and any questions or concerns that arise during the treatment protocol are addressed immediately.

Follow-up Care for Cats with Salmonellosis

Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.