The effect of salmonella on pets and their owners.

in StemSocial3 months ago

As a pet lover myself, I understand the bond between humans and their pets, there are also loads of health benefits associated with having a pet around. However, we need to stay informed on the possible nature of infections/diseases that can be spread from animals to humans through the germs they carry, and how we can avoid them, that way, we will be able to save the lives of our pets as well as save our own lives too. Today, we will be checking out how salmonella in pets, cannot affect us as pet owners.

Salmonella, is a gram-negative bacterium, a rod-shaped one that belongs to the family of Enterobacteriaceae, the causative agent of salmonellosis. In warm-blooded vertebrates, *salmonellosis is in most cases associated with serovars of salmonella enterica. The most common stage of infection is in the carrier state, at this stage, the infected animal carries the pathogen around for a variable period without showing any clinical signs.

Salmonella has been found in different regions of the world, but it is more common in regions where there is practiced intensive animal husbandry. It is more found in those environments that are subject to fecal contamination.

  • The feaces of an infected animal can contaminate water.
  • Feed.
  • Milk.
  • Processed meats from abattoirs.
  • Animal and plant products used as fertilizers.
    The organisms can survive for months in warm, wet areas like feeder pig barns, poultry houses, and even water dugouts but in composted cattle manure, they cannot survive beyond one week.

Salmonella is a widespread bacteria that can be found on varieties of dairy farms and different species of animals, which ranges from birds to mammals, insects, and reptiles, and of course, it can spread even to humans. It is commonly described as an opportunistic bacterium and this means, it can easily infect an animal at the point when the immune system is suppressed. An animal's immune system can be suppressed when the animal is young, the absence of other competing gut bacteria, sometimes, the immune system is not even so weak but a high dose of the infection would also create an opportunity for the infection to take place.

Your pet can carry the bacteria without being sick as there are thousands of salmonella bacteria, but only a few of them can cause diseases, the fact that some animals can carry the bacteria without showing signs of sickness, makes it difficult for the bacteria to be controlled. Stressors like pregnancy, transportation, change in feed as well as the presence of other diseases will determine if the animal will become ill or not.

The displayed clinical signs of salmonellacomes with fever, diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea, it could be a sudden outbreak or a gradual ongoing condition. The diarrhea is usually associated with a chronic foul smell accompanied by abdominal pain and dehydration in the animal. If the animal is young, it could cause a blood-borne infection coming in form of depression, difficulty breathing, weakness, and eventual death. The skin appearing on the tips of the ear, tail, and limbs may turn into a dark color and die (loss of sensation). When this bacteria affects pigs, it usually damages the lining of the intestine, and the pig would find it difficult to pass manure, in a cow, it could result in the loss of pregnancy.

While dogs and cats are not very common carriers of the bacteria, they can also be carriers of the bacteria, this means even while your dog or your cat may not have any displayed symptoms of the bacteria, they can still shed them in their stool and saliva, then spread these bacteria's into the home and to other pets in the environment. The signs of salmonella in dogs and cats (i.e) when displayed, include;
Vomiting, fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, decreased level of activity.

Amphibians and reptiles can also have salmonella germ on their bodies even while their skin appears shining and radiant. Salmonella could be spread either through direct or indirect contact or even through their droppings. If you touch your body or mouth after touching a reptile without washing it, you stand a chance of getting the bacteria.

Salmonella in Humans.

Humans can get infected by handling contaminated pet food, and pet utensils, touching the mouth with the same hand, would result in the ingestion of bacteria could happen more often if the pet food is raw or uncooked than when it is processed.

Humans can also contact the bacteria through the consumption of contaminated food, like;

  • Raw/undercooked eggs and other egg products.
  • Raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Raw/ poorly cooked meat and poultry products.
  • Raw/unpasteurized milk.
    Humans can as well have the bacteria by touching an infected animal and then eating or putting the hand into their mouth.

When humans have salmonella infection, it causes gastroenteritis, which could range from a mild to a severe case, the symptoms begin to show usually 6 hours-6 days after the bacteria has been ingested, the symptoms include; Fever, Nausea, Vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea.

Humans can recover from salmonella infection within 4-7 days without any treatment, but there are moments when diarrhea would get so severe that the person may have to be hospitalized. In the case of severe diarrhea, the bacteria may move from the intestine into the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body, when this happens, the condition would become so severe, except there's prompt treatment with antibiotics. Children under the age of five, women who are pregnant, and aged individuals with a weak immune system, stand a greater risk of getting salmonellosis and even having a severe condition than those who do not.

Understandably, we may not be able to act carefully enough, especially around our beautiful pets, but there are still necessary precautions that would prevent us from becoming carriers of the bacteria;

  • As a parent, always supervise your kids while washing their hands after playing with a pet.

  • Wash your hands appropriately with soap and water, after touching a roaming animal (especially).

  • Avoid eating and drinking after touching a reptile/animal.

  • Wash any cloth reptiles may have touched.

  • Remember that kids have a weaker immune system, monitor their activities around your pet.

  • Ensure the safety of your pet by taking him/her regularly to a vet clinic for a test.



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