Companion animals, including dogs and cats, are known reservoirs of Salmonella spp. and potential sources of transmission for humans through direct or indirect contact. Salmonella shed by companion animals in feces could constitute a major risk factor for environmental contamination and infection of humans. Potential risk factors that predispose pets to Salmonella infection include consumption of contaminated feed, water and other environmental reservoirs. Pet owners, while interacting with their pets, may handle contaminated food, water, or waste, constituting risk to the owners and revealing a potential public health issue. There is a dearth of studies examining the prevalence of Salmonella spp. and identifying potential risk factors in symptomatic and asymptomatic pets presented to veterinary clinics. We propose to conduct a multicenter cross-sectional study in association with our College of Veterinary Medicine Hospital at NC State University, and two local veterinary practices in the same region, to determine the prevalence of Salmonella in companion animals (dogs and cats) presented for treatment. We will collect appropriate data on history, feed consumption, and other important information from pet owners to aid in this study. Our study objectives are as follows: 1) Establish the prevalence of Salmonella is symptomatic (N=100) and asymptomatic (n=100) pets (dogs and cats) that are presented to our participating veterinary clinics for treatment. 2) Determine the serotype of the Salmonella strains isolated from the domestic pets. 3) Collect important information on the case history, including presenting symptoms and feed consumed, to aid in determining the potential risk factors for salmonellosis. The information gathered in this study will help us achieve our long term goal of reducing the burden of Salmonella in domestic pets and improve public health.
The proposed study will help establish the baseline prevalence of Salmonella in pets, and identify potential risk factors for the infection. The outcome will help veterinarians, public health authorities, and federal agencies provide important information to pet owners in an effort to minimize the risk of salmonellosis in pet owning households and improve public health.