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Salmonella is a bacterial infection of animals (including livestock) and birds.

First published:
16 November 2018
Last updated:

Salmonella can be transmitted to humans:

  • in contaminated food
  • through exposure to infected animal products and body parts
  • through exposure to infected animal housing and feed

Suspicion and confirmation

Contact your private vet if you suspect salmonella in your herd or flock.

Clinical signs        

Signs can vary between species but include:

  • diarrhoea (that may contain blood or mucus)
  • lethargy
  • vomiting and fever

Many animals with salmonella have no signs of illness and appear healthy.

Transmission, prevention and treatment

Salmonella occurs naturally in the intestines of many different animals. Animals can become infected:

  • through their environment
  • by eating contaminated food
  • from their mothers before they are born or hatched

Animals with salmonella shed the bacteria in their stool. This can contaminate:

  • other body parts - fur, feathers or scales
  • the areas where these animals live and roam, including their feed-stuffs

To help prevent and control salmonella:

  • you should follow good biosecurity measures
  • governmental national control programmes are in place to reduce levels of infection in food animals, especially poultry

Treatment can be difficult and ineffective. Especially in poultry flocks where a large number of animals may be infected. Infected poultry will need to be isolated and slaughtered. With certain other species, you can use antibiotic treatment. You should discuss this with your vet.