Objectives—To assess methods of detecting environmental contamination with Salmonella organisms and evaluate a cleaning and disinfection protocol for horse stalls in a veterinary teaching hospital.
Sample Population—37 horses with diarrhea likely to be caused by Salmonella infection and their stall environments.
Procedures—Fecal samples were collected from horses daily during hospitalization; samples were obtained from stall sites after cleaning and application of disinfectants. Fecal and environmental samples were cultured for Salmonella spp and tested via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to detect Salmonella DNA.
Results—1 horse died and 2 were discharged prior to sample collection. Fecal samples from 9 of 34 horses yielded growth of Salmonella organisms on bacteriologic culture, and 23 yielded positive results via PCR assay on ≥ 1 occasion. Among environmental samples from 21 stalls, salmonellae were detected at ≥ 1 stall site on 6 of 78 occasions, and ≥ 1 stall site yielded positive results via PCR assay on 69 of 77 occasions. Salmonella DNA was detected more frequently in samples of stall drains, cracks, and corners. Salmonella spp were cultured from samples of 3 stalls after both initial and second cleaning and disinfection cycles, but no organisms were detected in samples obtained after use of a peroxygen disinfectant.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that stalls in which horses with salmonellosis were housed should only be used to accommodate newly hospitalized horses after samples (collected after 2 cycles of cleaning and disinfection) from drains, cracks, and corners yield negative results on bacteriologic culture. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1640–1644)