Salmonellosis in dogs - Symptoms, treatment and prevention

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Dogs can contract Salmonella from eating food or water contaminated by the bacteria, as well as from contact with contaminated objects, raw food (especially meat), or infected animals. When this happens, the dog can suffer gastroenteritis, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and even die from the process in the most severe cases in the most susceptible animals. Salmonellosis in a disease that is transmitted between animals and people, or what is the same, is a zoonotic disease. Proper hygiene and cooking of food is very important in preventing the disease.

¿You want to know everything about the salmonellosis in dogs? Keep reading this AnimalWised article where we talk about the disease caused by bacteria of the Salmonella genus, its symptoms, treatment, diagnosis and prevention.

You may also be interested in: Salmonellosis in cats - Symptoms and treatment Index
  1. What Causes Salmonellosis in Dogs?
  2. How do dogs get salmonellosis?
  3. Pathogenesis of salmonellosis in dogs
  4. Symptoms of salmonella in dogs
  5. Diagnosis of salmonellosis in dogs
  6. How to cure salmonellosis in dogs? - Treatment
  7. How to prevent salmonella in dogs?

What Causes Salmonellosis in Dogs?

Salmonellosis is a infectious disease of bacterial origin caused by bacteria of the genus Salmonella and that it is contracted through food, saliva or feces of an infected animal and can lead to serious health problems. It is a zoonotic disease that is transmitted between animals and people. In fact, the serotypes most frequently isolated in human gastroenteritis have been found to be the most common serotypes in dogs. So if you wonder if salmonella is transmitted from humans to dogs and vice versa, the answer is yes..

Specifically, it is caused by various serotypes of Salmonella enterica, except for Salmonella typhi, which causes fever and a much more fatal illness in people. Specifically, Salmonella typhimurium is one of the serovars of S. enterica that is most associated with cases of salmonellosis in dogs, as well as in cats..

How do dogs get salmonellosis?

Salmonellosis is more common in poultry, amphibians and reptiles, it can also be seen in cattle, horses and pigs and less frequently in cats and dogs. The transmission of salmonellosis is fecal-oral, which means that it can be transmitted to dogs through contaminated food, water and objects with fecal matter with the bacteria that come into contact with their mouth and their subsequent ingestion, or through direct contact with an affected animal. Raw meat and eggs are another source of infection. The bacteria is resistant for months and even years in hot and humid places.

Infected dogs can sometimes act as asymptomatic carriers of the bacteria, shedding one or more serotypes intermittently for a period of time even longer than six months. Dogs with a weaker immune system are more prone to the disease, as are puppies or older dogs.

Pathogenesis of salmonellosis in dogs

Once the dog ingests the bacteria, it is invades the mucosa of the small intestine, where it multiplies and causes lesions in the intestinal epithelium producing enterotoxins. The immune system begins to attack to kill the bacteria, but Salmonella, in cases of weakness, takes advantage of this condition to its advantage to cause more damage. It is then when it lodges in the terminal ileum (final part of the small intestine), where it multiplies, crosses the intestinal walls and causes serious damage. Once it reaches the large intestine, it exits the rectum to the outside to contaminate more animals, continuing the fecal-oral cycle..

Symptoms of salmonella in dogs

Though most dogs are asymptomatic, resulting in a source of infection, but some may manifest clinical signs such as:

  • Watery diarrhea (sometimes bloody).
  • Vomiting.
  • Fever.
  • Anorexy.
  • Weightloss.
  • Lethargy.
  • Dehydration.
  • Abortions in pregnant bitches.

May cause septicemia (bacteria in blood) and / or sudden death especially in younger and older animals. Salmonellosis in puppies can cause a syndrome much like the enteritis caused by canine parvovirus, including severe neutropenia (low neutrophil count).

Diagnosis of salmonellosis in dogs

For the diagnosis of salmonellosis in dogs, in addition to presenting clinical signs compatible with salmonellosis, they must rule out other possible infectious causes, as they are:

  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Campylobacter spp.
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Giardia lambia
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Other parasitosis
  • Parvovirus
  • Rotavirus

At blood test Variable hematological alterations may be seen that may include:

  • Non-regenerative anemia.
  • Lymphopenia (low lymphocytes).
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelets).
  • Neutropenia with shift to the left.

Identification of Salmonella in dogs can be done by:

  • Stool culture of the suspected animal: it can be positive from the beginning of the infection, being the maximum positivity at the third week. It is very useful for post-treatment monitoring and to detect chronic carriers.
  • Blood culture: it is carried out on selective media and the animals are positive during the first week of infection. While in the third week the positivity rate drops to 50%.
  • PCR: technique much more sensitive and faster than the culture that indicates that the dog has the disease.

How to cure salmonellosis in dogs? - Treatment

The use of antibiotics for salmonella in dogs should be limited to cases of systemic disease, cases very severe or immunosuppressed dogs. Being able to use:

  • Ampicillin
  • Neomycin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Sulfameoxazole / Trimethoprim
  • Gentamicin
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Third generation cephalosporins

However, as Salmonella presents many antimicrobial resistance problems, becoming a great public health problem, an antibiogram must be performed and the antibiotic most sensitive to it must be applied. Many microbiologists do not recommend antibacterial treatment because it would favor the persistence of the bacteria in the intestine after healing, affecting the intestinal flora and the appearance of antibiotic resistant strains, hence they are used only in the worst cases to try to save the dog's life.

Most dogs affected by salmonellosis will have mild or no illness, especially healthy adults. Due to this, the treatment should be at home, ensuring a good hydration and nutrition. In cases of severe dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, dogs will require admission with fluid therapy to correct electrolyte imbalances and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the effects of endotoxemia caused by the endotoxins released by Salmonella..


The prognosis of healthy, vaccinated, dewormed, and immunocompetent adults is usually good or very good. On the other hand, in the immunosuppressed, the sick, the puppies and the elderly, it can be much more serious and worrying as they have a greater chance of developing septicemia. Therefore, in the presence of nonspecific clinical signs of weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and dehydration in a dog, it is essential to visit the veterinarian, where they will make a diagnosis of this or another disease with similar symptoms to proceed with its treatment..

How to prevent salmonella in dogs?

To avoid the appearance of salmonellosis in our dogs, the sources of contagion of the bacteria should be avoided as much as possible at the same time as increase household hygiene measures. So, it requires:

  • Check that the environment where you live is clean and disinfected.
  • Avoid drinking dirty or contaminated food and water.
  • Prevent contact with faeces of other animals or objects possibly contaminated with the same.
  • Avoid eating raw meat without having been frozen before.
  • If we touch a lizard, bird or turtle or visit a zoo, wash our hands before touching our dog, as well as prevent them from ingesting or having contact with these animals.

Because it can be spread to people, they should always wash their hands after handling the feces of their dogs or objects contaminated with them, as well as other susceptible animals. A good cooking of food is also essential, avoiding the ingestion of raw or undercooked foods, especially meat, egg products and the consumption of unpasteurized milk. Control in these foods is especially important because they are the ones that present a greater risk of carrying the bacteria.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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