Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is caused by the salmonella bacteria. It can be found in raw meat and eggs but can also be transferred from an infected animal’s poop or saliva. If your dog is vomiting or has bloody diarrhea, he could have a salmonella infection. Keep him hydrated, wash your hands with soap and water after handling your dog, and let your vet know.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection in Dogs
Dogs who have salmonellosis may be totally asymptomatic, giving no sign at all that they’re infected. Dogs who do have symptoms may show a range depending on how severe the infection is. If they will exhibit symptoms, they’ll likely begin showing any of the following within the first 72 hours of being infected:
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased activity
Causes of Salmonella Infection in Dogs
The salmonella bacteria is often caught through the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, but can also be transmitted through contaminated food, raw eggs, and the poop or saliva of an infected animal. Dogs also run the risk of getting it through recalled pet food and unrefridgerated wet food. Dogs who are infected can shed the bacteria in their feces and saliva for some time after the infection.
Dogs with weak immune systems, like puppies and senior dogs or those on antibiotics, are more likely to contract a salmonella infection.
Diagnosis of Salmonella Infection in Dogs
Some of the first symptoms you may notice are strange behavior, fever, vomiting, and consistent diarrhea. See your veterinarian immediately and bring a fresh stool sample with you. Salmonella infection shares symptoms with other gastrointestonal issues, like gastroenteritis, parasites, or food allergies, so your vet will need to run a series of tests to accurately diagnose salmonellosis.
The vet will ask you for a history of your dog and what symptoms you may have noticed. Let them know if your dog has eaten raw meat or eggs, recalled pet food, or come into contact with any animals that may have been infected. The vet will take urine and fecal samples for testing, which will rule out other conditions. In severe cases, or in case of sepsis, your vet may also take blood cultures.
Treatment of Salmonella Infection in Dogs
Most mild cases can be treated at home just by making sure your dog gets enough fluids during recovery. He’ll lose a lot of fluid through vomiting and diarrhea, so make sure you provide lots of clean, fresh water. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection or prevent shock, depending on the extent of the infection.
Severe cases may require that your dog be hospitalized. Severely dehydrated dogs may require IV fluid therapy, and those that developed a blood infection or sepsis as a result of their salmonella infection may need a plasma or blood transfusion. Most dogs who get a salmonella infection fully recover, but results may not be as good for dogs that developed sepsis.
Recovery of Salmonella Infection in Dogs
While your dog is recovering at home you’ll need to provide lots of clean water to keep him from dehydrating. You may need to limit how much he eats for the first few days after his diagnosis, but as he grows stronger you can gradually give him more until he’s back to eating as he was before.
Because the salmonella bacteria can be transmitted via feces and saliva, you’ll want to wear protective gear like gloves when picking up after your dog. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling anything your dog has touched (toys, bowls, etc.) and avoid being licked. When washing your dog’s dishes use a brush set aside just for your dog and try not to use the sinks in your home that your family uses (consider using a hose outside.) Your dog’s feces and saliva can continue to carry the salmonella bacteria even weeks after he’s been infected.
Your veterinarian may want to see your dog for a follow-up. Depending on the progress he’s made, they may want to take more urine or fecal samples to make sure that the infection has cleared.