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Salmonella Infection (Salmonellosis) in horses

Salmonella infection may be the most commonly recognized cause of sudden diarrhea in the horse. Horses of all ages, in any management situation, are susceptible and may be affected. Such salmonella infections can cause a variety of clinical signs.

Salmonella on SS agar

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Salmonella infection in man, caused by the ingestion of contaminated foods, is a well known problem. The incidence of salmonella infection in horses, as well as in man, has had a significant increase in the last ten years. More than 40 percent of animal by-products currently being rendered contain some salmonella bacteria. Some of these rendered products are used as sources of protein, fat, calcium and phosphorous in animal feeds. Contamination of animal feeds with the salmonella organism may well be a common source of infection for horses. Salmonella bacteria have adapted to a wide variety of host conditions, are resistant to environmental changes in temperature, and may survive for long periods of time in the environment. They have also adapted to a wide range of natural hosts, and unfortunately, the horse is highly susceptible to the deleterious effects of these bacteria. More than 40 different serotypes have been identified in horses.
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