Salmonella in Small Animals
Salmonella can be a major concern when thinking about owning a small pet. Salmonella is a bacteria that can infect many different types of animals from birds and reptile to farm animals; and even pocket pets. These animals can then pass the disease on to people if proper precautions aren’t used. There are many misconceptions around this type of bacterial infection and knowing the facts can help prevent you and your family from contracting it or making a rash decision about the need to re-home a cherished pet.
Salmonella is defined as a group of bacteria that can be passed from the feces of animals and humans to other animals and humans. Signs of Salmonella include stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills and headache. Some animals can carry the disease and not show signs or symptoms of having it.
There are many precautions you can take if you have or meet a species that causes you concern. ALWAYS wash your hands after handling any animal even if you think they are healthy, other people you meet could have allergies or sensitivities that you don’t know about. Make sure your animals cage is clean and sanitized; if you suspect you or your animal may have contracted Salmonella contact your Vet or Doctor right away to rule out infection. Most forms of Salmonella are non-life threatening and can be managed with standard flu treatment and bed rest. If your animal has contracted Salmonella than medication and rest can get them back to normal in no time.
If you are thinking about getting an animal that could be a carrier take these precautions:
1. If you’re purchasing from a pet store, breeder or local family, watch for any signs of illness in cage mates or other animals in the same area.
2. Ask to see any vet records the animal has and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
3. Hold off any purchase if an animal seems ill pending a vet visit.
4. If you are adopting through a rescue agency be sure to ask if the animal has been checked for any signs of illness, such as Salmonella.
When it comes to owning any animal there is always a risk they may carry an unknown disease. Taking the proper precautions can save you, your pet, and your family from risk of illness or unnecessary rehoming.