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What is Salmonella Infection?

Salmonella

is found worldwide, can infect various animals, and is a zoonotic disease that can be transmitted to humans. Because your pets can pass this infection to you it is important to be knowledgeable about the condition and to minimize the risk of infection.

The veterinary term for Salmonella infection in cats is salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that can cause numerous illness in cats. Nearly 2,000 types of Salmonella bacteria exist and live in the intestinal tract of their host. Salmonella infection leads to inflammation of the intestine (enteritis) and infection of the blood (septicemia).

Salmonella Infection Average Cost

From 317 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection in Cats

If your cat has contracted Salmonella, some of the symptoms you witness may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mucus in feces
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • High fever
  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Abortion
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Skin disease 
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Shock
  • Blood loss

Salmonellosis can lead to enteritis (or gastroenteritis), which is inflammation of the intestines. It can also cause septicemia, a systemic disease brought on by the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis include:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite

Symptoms of septicemia include:

  • Extremely low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Hypothermia
  • Rapid breathing
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Paleness of gums
  • Anorexia
  • Problems breathing
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Foul anal odor
  • Licking rear end
  • Distended abdomen
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Causes of Salmonella Infection in Cats

Cats contract salmonellosis from contact with other infected animals, both by killing and eating them or through contact with their feces. Salmonella bacteria can also survive on surfaces and contaminate both raw and processed food. Kittens and elderly cats, and cats with a weakened immune system, are more susceptible to a salmonella infection and may experience more severe symptoms.

Cats that are on antibiotic therapy are also at an increased risk since antibiotics destroy some of the good bacteria in the stomach and intestines, leaving them more vulnerable to infection.

If you suspect your cat has a Salmonella infection, you should not only have it diagnosed, but also take care cleaning the litter box and keep food and water bowls clean. Wearing gloves when doing these tasks can prevent contracting the bacterial infection yourself.

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Diagnosis of Salmonella Infection in Cats

The veterinarian will do stool and urine tests and blood work to determine if a salmonellosis is at fault or if there is another cause for your cat’s symptoms. Other similar illnesses that could cause similar symptoms include e.coli infection, food allergies, and drug or toxin ingestion. 

In order to diagnose salmonellosis, your doctor will look for the following:

  • Low blood platelet levels
  • Anemia
  • Abnormal white blood cell count
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Low albumin (a type of protein)
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Treatment of Salmonella Infection in Cats

Your cat will be treated with an antimicrobial medication on an outpatient basis. If the infection caused severe dehydration or sepsis, the cat will need to stay at the clinic for care. Treatments for dehydration involve replacing electrolytes and fluids. Treatment for sepsis may additionally include medications for pain and nausea and the use of a feeding tube.

Gastroenteritis causes an irritation in the stomach and the intestines, and leads to diarrhea and vomiting. This causes dehydration that can get out of control quickly. The treatment for this problem starts with rehydration and replenishment of electrolytes. The best method depends on the severity of the dehydration, and may involve fluid being given orally, subcutaneously, or intravenously.

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Recovery of Salmonella Infection in Cats

Be sure to administer any medications sent home as recommended by the vet. Your pet may also need to refrain from eating for up to 48 hours, which will help it keep from vomiting. When the cat is able to eat again you may be required to feed a bland diet for some time as the stomach recovers. You will need to change the way you're feeding your cat if you normally give raw foods. 

You will need to take your cat in for follow-up appointments to monitor recovery. You vet may test stool samples to ensure that the infection is out of the cat’s system. A thorough cleaning and disinfection of your home may be necessary to reduce the risk of humans and other pets developing salmonellosis.

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Salmonella Infection Average Cost

From 317 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$800

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Salmonella Infection Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Rizzo/Zeke

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American short hair and lynx point

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12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Vomiting
Quiet
Scooting Butt

Two days ago my 12 year old cat refused to ear and had diarrhea and throwing up. Took to vet, no obvious signs of anything, took blood/urine samples and gave fluids. Yesterday seemed a little better, but now both cats wont eat and have diarrhea/vomiting. Threw out food they'd been eating, tried boiled chicken, tuna, baby food chicken, today they reject it all. Have vet appointment at 2pm. Could this be anything other than bacteria from bad food? Inside cats.

Aug. 23, 2018

Rizzo/Zeke's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

There are not really any contagious diseases that affect older cats that way, and if both cats are affected, one does tend to think of something that they both ate, or a parasite. I hope that they both feel better soon.

Aug. 23, 2018

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Echo

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Ragdool

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8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Diarrhea.

When should I take my cat to the vet he had raw chicken for dinner. Around 4 hours ago and had now vomited 4 times. He's 8 months old and has had chicken before and he hasn't vomited before but he now is vomiting and has diarrhea. He's not showing any other signs but im still worried that he could have salmonella poisoning. Thank you.

June 30, 2018

Echo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

If Echo continues to vomit or have diarrhea, it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, yes. He may be affected by the Salmonella that is so common with raw chicken, and he may need help to calm his GI tract down.

June 30, 2018

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Boo, Oreo, Stevie Nicks, and Blondie

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house cat

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2 are 4 Months, 1 adult, 1 sen

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

I was thawing chicken breasts on counter over night. In morning noticed corner of package eaten and corner of chicken eaten. I have 2 kittens, 1 adult, and 1 senior so I'm not sure which did it but I am assuming the kittens because the other 2 have never done that before. What should I do? Will they get Salmonella?

Nov. 26, 2017

Boo, Oreo, Stevie Nicks, and Blondie's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Whilst chicken may be contaminated with Salmonella, it is unlikely (depending on which country you’re in), for the time being keep an eye on your cats and look out for any gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting or changes in the stool. If you notice any concerning symptoms you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 26, 2017

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macy

dog-breed-icon

normal

dog-age-icon

3 months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Apparently my cat has Salmonella Infection she stoppped eating , drinking or moving and she wouldn't open her mouth . she's always sleeping ( not really) but laying in a weird position we asked a vet and he said she has an infection but he didn't really suggest any medication but he did mentionned giving her olive oil . what can i dooooo i can't lose her !!!

Nov. 11, 2017

macy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

There is some debate about the use of antibiotics with Salmonella infections since it is rare to truly cure an animal of Salmonella; generally supportive care is given and antibiotics may be given in severe cases. Discuss Macy’s case with your Veterinarian and ask about specific treatment since the severity of the infection and Macy’s overall health would have a bearing on treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 11, 2017

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Leo

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Cat

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My cat keep trowing up brought him to vet got antibiotics antiflamatories nd fluid injections but isnt getting better still not eating his ears are cold sometimes and he is sleeping more

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Charlee

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tabby

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4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Nothing

I’m a teenager and sometimes forget to take leftover food down stairs to put out,and i left curry and rice...there was a bit of rice on the table and I’m afraid she’s had a nibble,is there a chance she could get really ill?

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Katty

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Mixed breed

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6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Symtoms

Today I found my cat sitting in the tortoise’s inclosure. I never allow them to be in contact for the fear of both their lives, today the cat was able to get there. The tortoise isn’t harmed and I’m afraid my cat was infected with salmonella, knowing that she has a issues in her urinary tract. How long does it take for me to be sure katty is ok? She’s not showing any symptoms but I’m very scared.

Salmonella Infection Average Cost

From 317 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$800

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