Heartland veterinarian explains link between pet turtles and salmonella

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 5:28 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The CDC reported a salmonella outbreak in pet turtles on April 15.

Doctor Victoria Landing, a veterinarian at Dogwood Veterinary hospital, explained how pet turtles and other animals can transmit the germs.

It’s not necessarily anything that people are doing wrong, it’s just a very common bacteria on reptiles.

Pet turtles can carry salmonella even if they look clean and healthy, especially turtles who have shells less than 4 inches long.

“They usually don’t show any signs of salmonella, but they have it on them. So, that’s why you have to be careful,” said Landing.

Not only can pet turtles get salmonella, but other animals, such as cats and dogs, can carry the same disease as well.

“What can also be seen in our companion animals, especially if we are doing things like a raw diet. Raw food as we know, like raw chicken, raw meat, that could all have salmonella in it and they can get salmonella just like we can and then they can spread it to us,” stated Landing.

Landing said it is very important for pet owners to take safety precautions while interacting with the animals to avoid rabies, salmonella, and other diseases.

“With reptiles we always want to wash our hands before we touch the reptiles because we don’t want to spread anything to them, either, and we want to wash our hands after. If little kids are going to be playing with reptiles, we always want them to wash their hands because the first thing that they do is stick their hands in their mouths,” said Landing.

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