Salmonella and Pets

  • Salmonellosis is an intestinal disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella that has been found in a variety of pet species including reptiles (i.e. turtles, lizards and snakes), rodents (i.e. hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, hedgehogs etc), and amphibians. It has also been found in birds, dogs, cats and farm animals.
  • Salmonellosis is spread to humans through touch and contact with infected saliva, urine and excrement.
  • Symptoms in humans include fever, diarrhea and stomach pain, and tend to emerge 1 to 3 days after infection. Most symptoms last for about one week, although in severe cases, the infection can spread to other organs.
  • Children and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to be infected with Salmonella. To prevent infection, it is important to frequently wash your hands while in contact with pets and their surroundings, and especially when cleaning out cages.
  • Symptoms in pets include diarrhea with blood or mucus, loss of appetite and fatigue, although some pets show no symptoms at all.
  • Pets such as cats and dogs can get Salmonellosis from pig ear dog treats and other pet foods, particularly those with peanut butter. Products are often recalled, and it is important to dispose of such items upon notification.
  • For information on recalled pet products, check the Food and Drug Administration’s website.


Sources: “Salmonella Infection (salmonellosis) and Animals” Center for Disease Control and Prevention; “Questions and Answers Related to the Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak and Pets” Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Olsen, Christopher. “Selected Zoonotic Agents of Gastroenteritis That Can Be Acquired From Dogs and Cats: Salmonella” University of Wisconsin- Madison School of Veterinary Medicine


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