Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association2001; 218(5); 740-748; doi: 10.2460/javma.2001.218.740

Factors associated with Salmonella shedding among equine colic patients at a veterinary teaching hospital.

Abstract: To evaluate factors potentially associated with fecal Salmonella shedding among equine patients hospitalized for colic at a veterinary teaching hospital and to determine the effects of probiotic treatment on fecal Salmonella shedding and clinical signs. Methods: Longitudinal study and controlled trial. Methods: 246 equine colic patients. Methods: History and medical information were obtained from patient records. Fecal and environmental samples were submitted for aerobic bacterial culture for Salmonella enterica. Fifty-one patients were treated with a commercially available probiotic; 46 were treated with a placebo. Logistic regression was used to evaluate data. Results: Salmonella organisms were detected in feces from 23 (9%) patients at least once during hospitalization. Patients were more likely to shed Salmonella organisms if diarrhea was evident < or = 6 hours after hospitalization and duration of hospitalization exceeded 8 days (odds ratio [OR], 20.3), laminitis developed during hospitalization (OR, 12.0), results of nasogastric intubation were abnormal (OR, 4.9), leukopenia was evident < or =6 hours after hospitalization (OR, 4.6), or travel time to the teaching hospital exceeded 1 hour (OR, 3.5). Horses treated with the probiotic did not differ from control horses in regard to likelihood of fecal Salmonella shedding (OR, 1.5) or prevalence of clinical signs. Conclusions: Results suggest that certain risk factors are associated with fecal shedding of S enterica among equine patients hospitalized at a veterinary teaching hospital because of colic and that pathogen monitoring in patients and the hospital environment and use of barrier nursing precautions for equine colic patients are beneficial.
Publication Date: 2001-03-31 PubMed ID: 11280409DOI: 10.2460/javma.2001.218.740Google Scholar: Lookup
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  • Clinical Trial
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support
  • Non-U.S. Gov't


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This study examined the factors that might affect the occurrence of fecal Salmonella shedding in horses hospitalized for colic at a teaching veterinary hospital, and also assessed the impact of probiotics on this shedding and related clinical symptoms.

Objective and Methodology

  • The research was a longitudinal study and controlled trial involving 246 horses admitted to a veterinary teaching hospital due to colic.
  • The relevant history and medical information of each patient were obtained from their records. Sampling of feces and the environment was carried out for aerobic bacterial culture of Salmonella enterica.
  • Out of the entire lot, 51 patients were given a commercially available probiotic while 46 were treated with a placebo. Logistic regression was employed to analyze the data collected.


  • Salmonella was found in excreta of 23 patients (9%) at least once during their stay at the hospital.
  • It was observed that the horses were more likely to shed Salmonella if they developed diarrhea within 6 hours of hospitalization and their stay extended beyond 8 days. Other factors increasing the chance included development of laminitis during hospitalization, abnormal nasogastric intubation results, leukopenia within 6 hours of hospitalization, and travel time to the hospital exceeding 1 hour.
  • Interestingly, the likelihood of horses shedding Salmonella in their feces or the prevalence of clinical signs did not differ amongst horses treated with the probiotic and those given the placebo.


  • Based on the results, the researchers concluded that some risk factors were associated with the fecal shedding of Salmonella enterica in equine colic patients admitted to a veterinary teaching hospital.
  • They also suggested that monitoring patients and the hospital environment for pathogens, alongside barrier nursing precautions for equine colic patients, would be beneficial practices.
  • However, the study also indicated that the use of probiotics did not significantly alter the probability of fecal Salmonella shedding or the presence of clinical signs in such horses.

Cite This Article

Kim LM, Morley PS, Traub-Dargatz JL, Salman MD, Gentry-Weeks C. (2001). Factors associated with Salmonella shedding among equine colic patients at a veterinary teaching hospital. J Am Vet Med Assoc, 218(5), 740-748.


ISSN: 0003-1488
NlmUniqueID: 7503067
Country: United States
Language: English
Volume: 218
Issue: 5
Pages: 740-748

Researcher Affiliations

Kim, L M
  • Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523, USA.
Morley, P S
    Traub-Dargatz, J L
      Salman, M D
        Gentry-Weeks, C

          MeSH Terms

          • Animals
          • Colic / drug therapy
          • Colic / microbiology
          • Colic / veterinary
          • Cross Infection / drug therapy
          • Cross Infection / microbiology
          • Diarrhea / veterinary
          • Feces / microbiology
          • Horse Diseases / drug therapy
          • Horse Diseases / microbiology
          • Horses
          • Hospitalization
          • Hospitals, Animal
          • Logistic Models
          • Longitudinal Studies
          • Odds Ratio
          • Probiotics / therapeutic use
          • Risk Factors
          • Salmonella Infections, Animal / drug therapy
          • Salmonella Infections, Animal / microbiology
          • Salmonella enterica / classification
          • Salmonella enterica / isolation & purification


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