Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ASK THE VET, with Dr. Pat: Dogs and Salmonella Infection

by Pat Bradley, DVM
(c) Joanne B., reader copyright on file

Snapple and Jack: Healthy Dogs
Live an Active, Busy Lifestyle

Dear Dr Pat:
Can dogs get sick from eating foods contaminated with Salmonella?
From Carrie
Dear Carrie:
Yes.  Some dogs get really, really sick, and Salmonella is cultured from their stools.  But that’s not the whole story.  Years ago I read a study in which the researchers cultured the stools of lots of normal dogs and found 30% were shedding Salmonella Normal dogs!  No diarrhea!
Wolves and wild dogs eat raw meat -- their systems are made to eat raw meat. Zoos feed their extremely valuable animals raw meat…because it’s the best thing to feed, not because they can’t afford kibble.
But maybe I’m just jaded.  I live in Arkansas where I’ve watched dogs eat been-out-in-the-sun-in-100-degree-weather-for-3-days roadkill for dessert. Often.  With no sign of GI distress.  (Well, I get GI distress when the dog gets upwind from me after she’s rolled on it for perfume.)
The hydrochloric acid in a stomach is extremely dangerous to any living organism that ventures down a throat. So I consider the average healthy dog well able to deal with Salmonella or any other bacteria that gets swallowed. When an animal gets sick, I consider it an immune system red flag, the same as I would a person whose skin got infected every time she got a scratch. 
Salmonella is a human health risk, and because of that risk, pet foods have gotten a lot of media coverage recently.  Salmonella bacteria have been found in dry and canned pet foods, raw and cooked vegetables, and raw meat and eggs.
Here’s a link that gives tips for minimizing risk of infection with Salmonella organisms:

My conclusion after reading the article?  Feeding our pets is too dangerous, and we should stop!!!   Oh wait….am I forgetting something? 

Dr. Pat
(c) courtesy of P. Bradley, DVM

Write to with your question for Dr. Pat. 

For a personal consultation about your pet's needs, visit Holistic Veterinary Services.

Dr. Pat's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian
Don't miss Patches, the All Things Dog Blog's family cat, as she stumbles over Dr. Pat's comments.
Finally, thanks to Joanne B. for providing the photo of our cover dogs, Snapple and Jack. Their mom works tirelessly rescuing dogs and helping fledgling agility competitors learn the ropes. Thanks Joanne!

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© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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