Salmonella infections in pet turtles are not unusual. Although the majority of individuals are not at risk for serious illness, everyone should take some simple precautions to reduce their risk of infection. Basic cleanliness is essential for the safety and health of you, your family, and your turtle.
What Is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacterium genus that has been linked to gastrointestinal sickness. It is a parasite that is shed in polluted water or food and has nothing to do with salmon. Many reptiles carry Salmonella without showing any clinical indications. It's a typical element of their gut flora. Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and other GI symptoms are common in people. If you think you could have salmonelosis, see a doctor very away. Any human Salmonella illnesses transferred from dogs must be reported to state or municipal health officials by veterinarians.
How Did My Turtle Get Salmonella?
Salmonella isn't just found in turtles and reptiles in general. Many reptiles' gut flora is made up of it. With the exception of a few rare cases, it does not cause illness in these animals. If your pet isn't actively shedding the bacterium, they might be carrying Salmonella and testing negative. Any reptile or amphibian should be assumed to be harboring Salmonella.
Many other animals, including cats, dogs, rats, and other pets, can carry Salmonella. In 2013, there was a Salmonella infection epidemic in hedgehogs that affected multiple states and about two dozen people. Infected food can potentially induce Salmonella illnesses in humans and other animals. Salmonella has also been linked to rats given to snakes and other reptiles. Frozen rodents are included!
The risk of catching Salmonella is real and should be taken seriously; but, with correct handling and care, your chance of infection may be greatly reduced. You are at very little danger if you are healthy and live with other healthy individuals. The extremely young, the elderly, and those with pre-existing disorders are at higher risk, as is the case with most infectious diseases. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against in homes with at-risk people.)
How to Prevent Salmonella Infections
When it comes to caring for turtles and other reptiles, one thing to remember is to wash your hands. Hands should be washed before and after touching your pet reptile. Avoid kissing or licking your turtle, and keep youngsters away from pets. It's important to minimize your child's engagement with your pet if they can't keep their lips away from it. The US prohibition on selling hatchling turtles was adopted in 1975, primarily in reaction to Salmonella infections in children caused by pet turtles (small enough to put in their mouths) that were readily available at the time.
Keep all of your turtle system cleaning supplies out of the kitchen and clean them on a regular basis. Do not utilize any of the equipment from your turtle system for other home duties or reptile systems. Do not use your equipment on other aquatic systems, such as fish tanks, if you are working with aquatic turtles.
Turtles, particularly aquatic turtles, like destroying their tanks and swimming pools. Because Salmonella lives in their intestines, any excrement should be handled carefully and disposed of on a regular basis. Cleaning the enclosure on a regular basis is crucial to lowering your chance of catching Salmonella. Water changes for should be done on a regular basis as part of your routine maintenance. To start siphons, do not suck on any hoses! You'll be more likely to come into touch with Salmonella as a result of this. Always wash your hands and clean your equipment after handling tank water.
What Are "Salmonella-Free Turtles?"
Turtles, particularly aquatic turtles, like wreaking havoc in their tanks and pools. Because Salmonella can be found in their intestines, any excrement should be handled carefully and disposed away on a regular basis. To lower the chance of catching Salmonella, keep the enclosure clean on a regular basis. Water changes should be done on a regular basis for aquatic turtles. To start siphons, don't suck on any of the hoses! Your chances of contracting Salmonella will rise as a result of this. Always wash your hands and clean your equipment after working with tank water.
As a result, these "bacteria-free" variants are a waste of money. Purchasing Salmonella-free turtles provides owners with a false feeling of security. Even if you have a Salmonella-positive turtle, which you almost certainly do, the danger of contracting the disease is low if you take proper care of it and follow simple hygiene precautions.
For more information about Salmonella and reptiles, visit the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians. They give information about Salmonella infections in reptiles for pet owners and veterinarians.