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J Zoo Wildl Med. 1997 Jun;28(2):148-52.

Fecal shedding of Salmonella in exotic felids.

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Department of Comparative Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37901-1071, USA.


Two collections of exotic felids were screened for the presence of Salmonella by selective fecal culture utilizing selenite broth and Hektoen enteric agar. In > 90% of the samples, Salmonella was isolated from a single culture. A commercial horsemeat-based diet was fed in both collections, and one collection also was fed raw chicken. Salmonella was cultured from the raw chicken and the horsemeat diet for both collections. Multiple Salmonella serotypes were identified, with S. typhimurium and S. typhimurium (copenhagen) isolated most frequently. Approximately half of the Salmonella isolates demonstrated multiple antibiotic resistance. The ability to harbor Salmonella as normal nonpathogenic bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract may be a physiological adaptation to carnivory. The high rate of fecal shedding of Salmonella in healthy individuals clouds the interpretation of a positive fecal culture in an ill felid, or one with diarrhea. All zoo employees having contact with cat feces or raw diets have a high rate of occupational exposure to Salmonella and should exercise appropriate hygienic precautions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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