Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Fecal analysis: salmonella

Contributor(s): Helen Milner, James Simpson


  • Gram negative rod-shaped bacterium Salmonella spp.
  • Found worldwide as many serotypes.
  • Infection found in most species.
  • An important zoonosis.
  • Spread of infection via fecal-oral route.
  •  Salmonella can survive for long periods off host in moist warm environments.
  • Infection may result in acute gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis or septicemia Shock: septic.


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  • Submit at least 2 different fresh feces samples for culture.
  • Do not use fecal swabs as they frequently dry out and result in negative cultures.
  • If septicemia is suspected then collect blood and tissue cultures.
  • Screen all in-contact animals.
  • Ensure owner seeks medical advice if human illness is also present.
  • Laboratory culture - always inform laboratory of possible Salmonella case and submit samples in suitable containers to prevent risk of human infection.
  • Laboratory culture for Salmonella will involve use of:
    • Deoxycholate citrate agar.
    • Selenite broth.
    • Slide agglutination.
    • This procedure will establish if Group B,C or D is present.
    • Send samples to reference laboratory for final identification.
  • If septicemia is suspected, then aseptically collect blood and tissue samples for culture. 
    Dispose of consumables and fecal material following Health and Safety regulations.
  • Patients positive for enteric Salmonella should not receive antibiotic therapy Salmonellosis as this may delay elimination from the host and create carrier states.
  • Septicemic patients should be hospitalized in isolation and intensively treated.
    Owners must be warned of zoonotic implications of salmonella infection in their cat.Special care is required where very young, old or potentially immunocompromised people live in the same environment.


  • Multiple fecal cultures are used to determine when enteric Salmonella infection has been eliminated. Recommend give indication of frequency/intervals of testing.
  • Aim for 3 negative fecal cultures.

Result Data

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Manual of Small Animal Clinical Pathology. (1998) Davidson M, Else R & Lumsden J (eds), BSAVA.
  • Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians. (1998) 4th edn McCurnin D M (ed), W B Saunders.
  • BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Gastroenterology. (1997) Thomas D A et al (eds), Iowa State University Press.
  • Laboratory Procedures for Veterinary Technicians. (1997) 3rd edn, Pratt P W (ed), Mosby.