What You Need To Know About Salmonella
It seems we hear about a salmonella case nearly every day, so why are we so uninformed on prevention?
Each year more than 42,000 cases of salmonella (Salmonellosis) are reported in the U.S., but the actual number is estimated to be 29 times greater when considering mild cases not diagnosed or reported. Do you know what it is, how it can affect your pet/family, and how to avoid it? Here are some facts you need to know:
- Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella.
- Salmonella contamination can be a danger to both pets and people.
- Salmonellosis can be transmitted from animals to humans.
- Symptoms of Salmonella include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than winter.
Salmonella germs have been known to cause illness for more than 100 years. They were discovered by an American scientist named Salmon, for whom they are named. According to the CDC, the symptoms that pet parents will see in their dog or cat are usually diarrhea, decreased appetite, fever and excess salivation. Pets also appear very tired. Diarrhea in some animals may have blood or mucus. Most people are not aware they can get salmonella infection by simply being in contact with an infected pet.
We all know from the number of pet food recalls recently that your pet can contract salmonella from tainted food, however the infection can occur in humans from many different sources:
- Eating food that is improperly cooked or eating raw food
- Handling raw meats and not your washing hands, surfaces (countertops), dishes, utensils that come into contact with raw meat
- Eating a commercial food that is contaminated
- Handling contaminated commercial food
- Direct contact with infected feces/diarrhea from infected animals
- Birds, reptiles, amphibians can also carry the bacteria and can transfer it to people
How can you protect yourself and your pet? For commercial pet food, be sure it is from a well-respected, reputable manufacturer and take time to research the quality and safety manufacturing standards. Ask if foods are routinely tested for salmonella and if meat ingredients such as poultry are sourced from USDA facilities. Cook meats thoroughly. Always wash your hands with hot, soapy water after handling raw meat. Always wash dishes, utensils and all surfaces that come into contact with raw meat with hot, soapy water.
Don't take chances with your pet's health or your family's. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and can keep you and your furry friends happy and healthy!