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
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.
Results—Salmonella 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)