Objective—To determine prevalence of Salmonella spp in samples collected from wild North American turtles.
Animals—94 wild North American turtles of 6 species in 2 genera.
Design—Prospective microbiologic study.
Procedures—A convenience sample of wild North Carolina turtles admitted to a veterinary college was evaluated for Salmonella spp by use of standard techniques via microbiologic culture of cloacal swab and fecal samples. Gastrointestinal mucosa samples were also collected at necropsy from turtles that died or were euthanized. Cloacal swab samples were also collected from wild pond turtles for bacteriologic culture. Controls were established by use of wild-type Salmonella Typhimurium LT2.
Results—94 turtles were tested for Salmonella spp; Salmonella spp were not detected in any sample. By use of a pathogen-prevalence and sample-size table, the true prevalence of Salmonella spp was estimated as < 5%.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that wild turtles in central North Carolina may not be active shedders or carriers of Salmonella spp. Despite this 0% prevalence of infection, proper hygiene practices should be followed when handling wild turtles.