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Salmonella

wretchedprocess
09-28-2010, 06:28 AM
I may have just become one of the Mutant Few to actually contract salmonella from one of my snakes. Can't say for certain, but the timing is suspicious. Luckily, in my case it manifested as an absolutely EXCRUCIATING 36 hours or so, and is now mostly over.

The thing is, if I DID pick it up from my snake, she has to have a pretty heavy load if it in her gut. Yes, she pooped on my jeans. But I immediately changed out of them, and washed my hands as soon as I put her away, et cetera. I'm willing to concede that I may not have washed my hands WELL, but even so.

I've read that in general salmonella doesn't cause illness in snakes, they're just carriers. However, I also came across mentions in old threads here about snakes dying of salmonella. So I thought I'd ask-- is this actually dangerous for the snakes?

Again, I can't be absolutely sure it was salmonella, or that it came from her. But, just in case, I'd like to know whether there are any worries for the health of the snake if that is what happened.

Thanks!

bitsy
09-28-2010, 07:11 AM
Can't shed light on the impact on the snake. It sounds like the risk to snakes is minimal though. Hopefully someone in the know can comment shortly.

If you've eaten chicken or eggs recently, they're statistically a much more likely source.

As for the timing being suspicious following "The Jeans Incident", remember that some forms of food poisoning take up to ten days to incubate and show symptoms. Your current problem could have been caused by anything you've eaten or drunk in well over a week.

diamondlil
09-28-2010, 07:37 AM
Did you take a stool sample to send off for analysis? (from both of you) Salmonella from reptiles hasn't been proven as a cause in humans very often at all.

wretchedprocess
09-28-2010, 07:48 AM
No, and in truth I'm not terribly concerned about it. I'm okay now, and even if that was the cause, I don't expect it to happen again. Since the awful part only lasted a bit more than a day and I could comfortably identify it as a nasty stomach bug, I didn't even go to a doctor. That part of the story was more an explanation for why I had started wondering whether salmonella could be damaging to a corn. Whether this particular snake is a little biological weapon or not, a fair number of them do carry it, and it seemed like it would be a good thing to ask straight up and have clarified.

No worries-- I won't be joining the Salmonella Horror Brigade. I just want to know whether it's possible for it to hurt my little ones if they have it.

wretchedprocess
09-28-2010, 07:51 AM
As for the timing being suspicious following "The Jeans Incident", remember that some forms of food poisoning take up to ten days to incubate and show symptoms. Your current problem could have been caused by anything you've eaten or drunk in well over a week.

True, and I'm just as suspicious of a mussel I ate in an otherwise delicious soup a day or two earlier. But I'm less concerned about the mussel's health than my snakes'! ;)

Nanci
09-28-2010, 08:02 AM
So if you didn't get it diagnosed by stool sample, how do you know it was salmonella and not any other stomach bug?

The snake can't be affected by the type of salmonella that chickens or mice carry.

wretchedprocess
09-28-2010, 08:39 AM
So if you didn't get it diagnosed by stool sample, how do you know it was salmonella and not any other stomach bug?

The snake can't be affected by the type of salmonella that chickens or mice carry.

I don't. My point in mentioning that I had gotten ill was merely to introduce the reason I had started wondering about salmonella in corn snakes. IF I had gotten it from her, then she would probably have to be shedding a pretty large amount in her stool, so would that mean that she was in any health danger?

Perhaps I shouldn't have included it after all-- people seem to be getting almost offended, as though I am blaming the snake. I know that people opposed to the hobby often bring up salmonella as a much greater danger to humans than it is, and that can certainly be frustrating. But that's really not what I am trying to do. If I implied at any point that I was certain that my recent difficulty had been salmonella, it was unintentional, and I apologize. I really am just trying to figure out whether salmonella, of whatever kind they normally carry, has a chance of causing a snake harm.

Nanci
09-28-2010, 09:11 AM
I found a pretty cool article- based on post-mortem findings. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1236169/pdf/compmed00003-0032.pdf)

Here are the highlights:

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Between 1979 and 1983, 150 reptiles
were received at the Veterinary Services
Laboratory in Edmonton, Alberta.
Most came from private owners and
had been obtained through pet shop
retailers. Ninety snakes representing
two families and seven genera, 46
lizards from six families and 12 genera,
and 14 turtles from one family and two
genera were submitted. Routine postmortem
examinations were performed
and selected tissues were fixed for histological
sections. Organs with gross
pathological lesions or from cases suggestive
of septicemia were cultured. In
addition, in all cases a portion of the
distal third of the intestinal tract was
submitted for Salmonella isolation.

RESULTS

Thirty-one Salmonella serotypes
were identified from the respective
reptile families (Table I). Of particular
interest are the isolations of S. harmelem
from a boa of the genus Epicrates,
S. jangwani from an iguana and S.
mowanjum from a gecko. These
appear to be the first isolations of these
serotypes in Canada. Forty-six (51%)
of the snakes were positive for Salmonellae
but only 15 (17%) died of salmonellosis
(i.e. 33% of Salmonella
positive animals). Similarly, 22 (48%)
of the lizards were positive while five
(11%) died of Salmonella infection
(i.e. 23% of positive animals). Somewhat
surprising was the low prevalence
of Salmonellae in turtles. Of the
14 examined, Salmonellae were
detected in only one asymptomatic
carrier.

Salmonellosis in snakes was commonly
manifested as severe, subacute
necrotizing enteritis involving most of
the intestines but more frequently the
posterior half (Fig. 1). From these
cases, Salmonellae were isolated in
pure culture and examinations for
entamoebae were negative. Septicemia
resulted in subacute hepatitis, sometimes
with granuloma formation.
Laboured breathing was the clinical
sign in a Boa constrictor with Salmonella
pneumonia characterized by
interstitial inflammatory cell infiltration
and much alveolar fibrin exudation.
These changes are similar to earlier
descriptions (11,12). Chronic
salmonellosis caused fibrosing interstitial
nephritis in an iguana. An
Ameiva lizard and an iguana suffered
from severe oophoritis. In two iguanas
the infection was associated with
myocarditis and in one of them also
with aortic valvular endocarditis (Fig.
2).

DISCUSSION

In attempting to assess the implications
to public health of the findings
reported herein, several points must be
borne in mind. Although the high proportion
both of snakes and of lizards
infected with Salmonellae is disconcerting,
a serious hazard to humans
generally does not necessarily follow.
The serotypes encountered fall into
two main groups, those of sub-genus I
and the remainder belonging to subgenera
II or IV including mainly
strains previously classified as Arizona
hinshawii. Many, but not all subgenus
I types identified in this study
have commonly been found in poultry
or in animal feeds.
Chicks and other products of
domestic agriculture are major components
of diets fed to captive reptiles.
The high prevalence of Salmonellae in
such products is well recognized.
Without conclusive proof or firm circumstantial
evidence, these reptiles
cannot fairly be incriminated as an
important source of human salmonellosis.
Strains of sub-genera other than
sub-genus I rarely infect humans (16).
Recognizing that most captive snakes
and some lizards originate outside
Canada, infections with the very rare
serotypes reported are probably
acquired before importation into
Canada.
Persons handling reptiles, particularly
those maintaining them as pets,
should be aware of the attendant
hazards. However, given their restricted
popularity as pets and their dry
environment, there is no need at present
for public health surveillance of
these animals.
Our survey supports earlier findings
(13, 14) that only a small proportion of
Salmonella carrying reptiles show clinical
signs or die of salmonellosis.

Nanci
09-28-2010, 09:16 AM
Another article. (http://si-pddr.si.edu/dspace/bitstream/10088/920/1/Cambre1980.pdf)

Nanci
09-28-2010, 09:20 AM
Salmonella-infected children, one by iguana, one by snakes (http://adc.bmj.com/content/77/4/345.full)

Nanci
09-28-2010, 09:26 AM
This one is pretty doom and gloom. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/4483960) I'm not sure it will let most people view it- I'm at a university, so I'm subscribed. I couldn't cpoy and paste, either.

Fatman608
09-28-2010, 03:32 PM
Hey Nanci,

For the White Red Neck, who did not pass high school and who can not understand the university language and can just barely able to read threw it. If I wash my hands with soap and water after touching my snakes? I am safe right.

Love the Fatman

diamondlil
09-28-2010, 03:39 PM
Hey Nanci,

For the White Red Neck, who did not pass high school and who can not understand the university language and can just barely able to read threw it. If I wash my hands with soap and water after touching my snakes? I am safe right.

Love the Fatman
Wash those hands, use soap and water, lather up good. Don't put those fingers in your mouth 'til they're clean!

w00dg0blin
09-28-2010, 07:03 PM
I'm sorry but I just have to add this...

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s78/w00dg0blin/funny/slide_3956_55540_large.jpg

***** IMPORTANT INFORMATION/DISCLAIMER *****
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the four out of five voices in the posterís head and are not endorsed by any commercial, private, or government entity in any way. Some of the information contained in this post may be unsuitable for children, persons with heart conditions, no sense of humor, paranoia, or those with deeply ingrained irrational beliefs that no one else can understand. No animals were harmed in the creation of this post, although that rat dog next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you. The poster accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss, damage, or injury of any kind arising out of the use of all or any part of this post. This especially goes for milk snorting and coffee spilled into ones lap.

Nanci
09-28-2010, 07:12 PM
Hey Nanci,

For the White Red Neck, who did not pass high school and who can not understand the university language and can just barely able to read threw it. If I wash my hands with soap and water after touching my snakes? I am safe right.

Love the Fatman

Actually, I think you would be safer if you wash your hands with soap and water and dry REALLY WELL after handling raw chicken, raw eggs or FT mice. Or snake poop. And disinfect everything you touch in your kitchen after handling those things, such as the counter, faucets, refrigerator handles, etc. And don't eat eggs in a restaurant, and make sure any chicken you eat is well-cooked.

I've been kissing snakes for years without a problem-

To protect the snakes from cross-contamination, have a dedicated scrubber for water bowls and don't ever let it touch snake poop. If a snake poops in its water bowl, bleach it really well and wash BY HAND, not with your normal snake bowl scrubber.

w00dg0blin
09-28-2010, 07:26 PM
Nice to see I'm not the only one that's kissed a snake. Plus, I'm a chronic hand-washer and firm believer in bleach. I do love chicken and eggs though, they are simply delicious. Although, I've never kissed a chicken before...they're such filthy critters. I am getting hungry now...

Nanci
09-28-2010, 07:45 PM
Birds in general are pretty dirty. Because all they do is poop! But- I've kept pet chickens and they are very sweet and kissable. As are my pigeons. I'd never kiss a germy dog, though!!

I'll never forget the time we were at Repticon with Tim and dared him to lick a snake. Then I asked him what it tasted like and without skipping a beat Tim replied "Salmonella!"

w00dg0blin
09-28-2010, 07:48 PM
... what it tasted like and without skipping a beat Tim replied "Salmonella!"

ROFL! I love it!

Kali
09-28-2010, 08:03 PM
I asked my vet once about the possible impact of salmonella on snakes, as they are supposed to be carrier.
He said that it doesn't make them sick, but in an animal that is weakened by something else, illness or old age, it's possible that the salmonella gets out of hand and then could pose a problem. Could, not will.
Just hearsay, but it's a good vet and it seems to make sense :)

wretchedprocess
09-28-2010, 08:51 PM
Oh, I kiss my snakes all the time, and do not intend to stop!

Thanks for the articles, Nanci. I do not in fact have access to the last one, but from the others, and other comments, it looks like my snakes don't have too much to worry about as long as they're generally healthy. And since I try to keep them that way anyway, nothing more to worry about than usual.

Thanks, all!

WingedSweetheart
10-02-2010, 03:20 AM
This is so funny in a weird way! Last week I got sick and I blame it on a chicken sandwich that I ate at a restaurant the day before. I was sick for 3 days and could not even take sips of water without throwing up. I lost 8lbs in the first 2 days. The 3rd day I could eat but was still bathroom bound if you know what I mean.


Anyway, I too in my time of pain was thinking about salmonella. I don't know what sort of food bore illness I had. But the 2nd day I was sick was snake feeding day and I started to think. I know snakes and other reptiles can have salmonella. I also know that humans can get it from their animals (though rare I think). But what I was thinking is, what about my snakes? If my snakes don't have salmonella and I get them out to feed them while I'm sick, could they get salmonella from me? LOL! The dumb things I think of when I'm sick.

Nanci
10-02-2010, 10:53 AM
If you wash and DRY your hands after going to the bathroom, no one can catch salmonella from you.

WingedSweetheart
10-02-2010, 02:59 PM
Yeah that's pretty much what I thought after thinking about it. I'm a little bit of a germ freak and wash my hands and clean my house a lot. But not nearly as bad as my sister who breaks out the lysol every time anyone in her house has been sick. She actually forgot to move her love birds into another room once and ended up killing them with the fumes.