Submitted to: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/21/2001
Publication Date: 3/1/2001
Citation: Kim, L.M., Morley, P.S., Traub-Dargatz, J.L., Salman, M.D., Gentry-Weeks, C. 2001. Factors associated with salmonella shedding among equine colic patients at a veterinary teaching hospital. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. V. 218, No. 5, P. 740-748.
Interpretive Summary: Hospital-acquired (nosocomial) Salmonella infections are an important concern to veterinarians. The purpose of this study was to evaluate factors potentially associated with fecal shedding of Salmonella among hospitalized equine colic patients, and to determine whether probiotic treatment was beneficial to decrease shedding and occurrence of clinical signs due to salmonellosis. This study includes 246 equine colic patients, a portion of which was included in a clinical trial using a commercially available probiotic. Salmonella were detected in 9% (23/246) of equine colic patients at least once during hospitalization. Equine patients were more likely to shed Salmonella if 1) diarrhea was present within 6 hours of hospitalization and duration of hospitalization exceeded 8 days, 2) laminitis (laminar inflammation of the hoof wall) developed during hospitalization, 3) diagnostic gastric intubation findings were abnormal, 4) white blood cell count was low within 6 hours of hospitalization, or 5) if travel time to CSU- VTH exceeded 1 hour. Use of the probiotic did not appear to affect fecal shedding of Salmonella nor in the occurrence of clinical signs. Further research is needed to develop a more efficacious product.
Technical Abstract: A longitudinal study of 246 equine colic patients was performed to evaluate factors potentially associated with fecal Salmonella shedding among this group. A portion of the study population was also included in a double blind clinic trial using a commercially available probiotic to determine the effects of probiotic treatment on both occurrences of fecal Salmonella shedding and clinical signs. Salmonella spp were detected in the feces of 9% (n=23) of equine colic patients at least once during hospitalization. Horses were more likely to shed Salmonella if laminitis developed during hospitalization, nasogastic intubation findings were abnormal, diarrhea was present within 6 hours of hospitalization, luekopenia was present within 6 hours of hospitalization, duration of hospitalization exceeded 8 days, or if travel time to CSU-VTH exceeded 1 hour. Differences were not detected between the treatment groups in the probiotic trial with respect to the likelihood of fecal Salmonella shedding nor were there detectable differences in the occurrence of fever, diarrhea, or luekopenia.