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Factors associated with Salmonella shedding among equine colic patients at a veterinary teaching hospital

Lisa'Marie Kim DVM, MS1, Paul S. Morley DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Josie L. Traub-Dargatz DVM, MS, DACVIM3, M. D. Salman BVMS, PhD, DACVPM4, and Claudia Gentry-Weeks PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate factors potentially associated with fecal Salmonella shedding among equine patients hospitalized for colic at a veterinary teaching hospital and to determine the effects of probiotic treatment on fecal Salmonella shedding and clinical signs.

Design—Longitudinal study and controlled trial.

Animals—246 equine colic patients.

Procedure—History and medical information were obtained from patient records. Fecal and environmental samples were submitted for aerobic bacterial culture for Salmonella enterica. Fifty-one patients were treated with a commercially available probiotic; 46 were treated with a placebo. Logistic regression was used to evaluate data.

ResultsSalmonella organisms were detected in feces from 23 (9%) patients at least once during hospitalization. Patients were more likely to shed Salmonella organisms if diarrhea was evident ≤ 6 hours after hospitalization and duration of hospitalization exceeded 8 days (odds ratio [OR], 20.3), laminitis developed during hospitalization (OR, 12.0), results of nasogastric intubation were abnormal (OR, 4.9), leukopenia was evident ≤ 6 hours after hospitalization (OR, 4.6), or travel time to the teaching hospital exceeded 1 hour (OR, 3.5). Horses treated with the probiotic did not differ from control horses in regard to likelihood of fecal Salmonella shedding (OR, 1.5) or prevalence of clinical signs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that certain risk factors are associated with fecal shedding of S enterica among equine patients hospitalized at a veterinary teaching hospital because of colic and that pathogen monitoring in patients and the hospital environment and use of barrier nursing precautions for equine colic patients are beneficial. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:740–748)