Salmonella Testing – Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory

CVMDL vet lab blue sign on the UConn campus with the brick Chemistry building in the background

Salmonella testing at the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL).

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that targets the intestinal tract of humans and animals as well. Salmonella bacteria typically live in the intestines and are shed to the environment through feces. Backyard poultry and wild
birds are susceptible to Salmonella species. They also can carry and transmit Salmonella bacteria even if they look healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.

CVMDL has been routinely performing testing for Salmonella pullorum in backyard chickens.

  • Why Salmonella pullorum (Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar: pullorum)?

Based on the current edition of the Merck Manual of Veterinary Medicine the disease caused by this bacterium (Pullorum disease, white bacillary diarrhea) is characterized by a very high mortality in young chicks and poults. Affected birds tend to huddle, become weak, show lack of appetite, they look depressed and they may have depositions of white colored feces. The disease may also affect older chickens, turkeys, game birds, guinea fowl, ostriches, parrots, peafowl, ring doves and sparrows.

  • Sources of infection for domestic birds.

According with the literature, the disease spreads mainly through contact with infected birds. Transmission from hens to chicks may occur via the egg. Both domestic and wild birds may act as reservoirs for the infection. Other sources of the bacterium could be contaminated feed, water and litter, as well as through contaminated clothing, footwear, vehicles and equipment.

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