Salmonella: Salmonellosis

Image of bacteria that makes up Salmonella

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella (aka salmonellosis) is a bacterial infection that affects the intestines. Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of animals and humans and are shed through feces. Humans are most commonly infected through contaminated food or water.

No symptoms usually accompany salmonella infection. Within eight to 72 hours, others develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Without special treatment, most healthy people recover in a few days.

In some cases, diarrhea caused by salmonella infection is so dehydrating that it necessitates medical attention right away. If the infection spreads beyond your intestines, it can cause life-threatening complications. If you travel to countries with poor sanitation, your chances of contracting salmonella are higher. 1Go To Source -“Salmonella infection”

Learn More: Wild Animal Related Diseases

What Species Is Affected By Salmonella?

Salmonella infections can be found in lizards, snakes, and turtles (including tortoises), as well as parrots, canaries, finches, and pigeons, and dogs and cats. In small caged animals, they are less common. Infection may be undetectable in dogs, cats, reptiles, and salmonellae can be found in healthy animals’ feces. Some animals’ intestines can support these organisms happily. They’re known as carrier animals. Enteritis and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of Salmonella infections. Septicemia can be caused by bacteria invading the body.

How Is Salmonella Spread?

Picture of house sparrow in forest

Salmonella is spread via the fecal-oral route and can be passed from person to person.

  • Direct contact with animal or their feces
  • Contaminated water Or food
  • Person to person contact

Food is thought to be responsible for 94 percent of salmonellosis transmission. Humans are usually infected by eating foods contaminated with infected animal feces. As a result, animal-based foods like beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are frequently implicated. Salmonella infection does not always come from food. Salmonella’s human infection has been linked to direct contact with birds, chickens, and other wild animals. 2Go To Source -“Infection With Salmonella”

Can People And Pets Get Salmonella?

Although dogs and cats rarely get salmonellosis, they can be carriers of the bacteria. This means that even if the pets do not show symptoms of salmonellosis, they can still shed Salmonella in their stool and saliva, which can then spread the bacteria to the home environment and people and other pets. Salmonella can be spread by cats in shared litter boxes or when they roam around the house, such as on kitchen countertops. When dogs give people kisses or have stool accidents inside the house, they can spread the bacteria. People can become infected by pet waste from both sick and healthy pets.

When an adult dog or cat is diagnosed with the disease, the animal usually has another infection or health problem at the same time. Puppies and kittens are more likely to exhibit disease symptoms. 3Go To Source -“Get the Facts about Salmonella”

Symptoms Of Salmonella In Humans

Diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever are the most common symptoms of Salmonella infection.

Symptoms usually appear six to seven days after infection and last four to seven days. On the other hand, some people do not experience symptoms for several weeks after infection, while others do.

Salmonella strains can cause serious illness when they infect the urine, blood, bones, joints, or nervous system (spinal fluid and brain).

Symptoms Of Salmonella In Animals

Ruffled feathers, diarrhea, and lethargy are all clinical signs in birds. Plaques in the mouth and crop of affected songbirds are common, as are general signs of illness. Outbreaks linked to bird feeders could result in high mortality across large geographic areas. Infected animals pass the organism in their feces on a regular basis. 4Go To Source -“Salmonella”

How Harmful Is Salmonella?

Photograph of pigeons sitting in the street

The majority of people recover without the need for antibiotics. High-risk groups, such as the elderly or those who are immunocompromised, may require more than just rest and fluids. If you have severe diarrhea or can’t stop throwing up, see your doctor right away because you could become dehydrated, or bacteria could enter your bloodstream from your intestines. The infection becomes very serious once it enters the bloodstream.

It’s a rare occurrence, but salmonella can be fatal. Each year, over a million salmonellosis cases are reported in the United States, with approximately 400 deaths. According to the CDC, there are 15.2 cases per 100,000 people in the United States. 5Go To Source -“How dangerous is salmonella?”

How To Prevent Salmonella?

To help control and prevent disease transmission at feeding stations all year, follow these best practices for feeding garden birds:

  • Rotate the positions of bird feeders in the garden to avoid contamination in one area, and be sure to clean up any food remains that fall to the ground.
  • On a daily basis, clean and fresh drinking water is provided.
  • Good table hygiene should be practiced regularly. Before putting out fresh food, clean away uneaten food and droppings, and disinfect feeders/feeding sites regularly.
  • Fresh food from reputable sources is provided.

What To Do If You Have Salmonella?

Because salmonella infection can cause dehydration, treatment focuses on rehydrating the patient and replacing fluids and electrolytes. Severe cases may necessitate hospitalization and the administration of fluids directly into a vein (intravenous). Those that are showing symptoms of salmonella should contact a doctor right away.

Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has Salmonella. Salmonella infections may require immediate medical attention and fluids. If your pet is seriously ill, it may need antibiotics or be admitted to a veterinary clinic. Your veterinarian is the best person to ask about your pet’s health.

Sick wildlife on your property may be the reason you or your pet has caught salmonella. Inspect your property for signs of animals such as tracks, droppings, or nests. If pests are present, contact a wildlife removal technician right away. Animals Happen’s certified professionals will survey your home and implement devices to deter salmonella spreading animals such as birds.



  1. “Salmonella Infection – Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
  2. “Infection With Salmonella.” CDC, Center For Disease Control And Research, Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
  3. FDA. “Get the Facts about Salmonella.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 28 July 2020,,other%20pets%20in%20the%20household.
  4. “Salmonella.” Cornell Wildlife Health Lab, Cornell University,,the%20organism%20in%20the%20feces. Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
  5. Liz Weinandy, RD. “How Dangerous Is Salmonella?” How Dangerous Is Salmonella? | Ohio State Medical Center, 3 July 2020,