Signs & Symptoms of Equine Salmonella

Written by gail logan
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Signs & Symptoms of Equine Salmonella
A healthy horse (horse 8 image by Harvey Hudson from

Food that is not properly stored or has been contaminated can cause your horse to become ill with equine salmonella. Just like in humans, salmonella is a food poisoning that causes intestinal pain. If your horse exhibits any of the below symptoms, it is important to monitor him closely and take him to a large-animal vet quickly if his condition worsens. When salmonella builds up in the intestines, it can enter the blood stream and can prove toxic to other organs in a horse's body.


The signs and symptoms of equine salmonella can vary from case to case, but nearly universally, a fever will be present. A rising temperature is often the way that mammals initially react to infections. A horse's regular temperature should be between 37.2 and 38.3 degrees Celsius. Temperature testing should be done rectally to ensure the most accurate results.


Diarrhoea is a sign that the salmonella bacteria has settled into the horse's small and large intestines. The faeces will have no solid form, having instead a watery appearance. There may a discernibly foul odour, as well. While defecating, the horse will appear to be in discomfort, moving his tail in quick motions. During the diarrhoea attack, the horse may change positions repeatedly. Standing up then lying down, searching for but unable to find a comfortable position.

Changed Habits

Although a change in a horse's habits can be attributable to other illness besides equine salmonella, they always accompany the infection and should be a sign to carefully check your horse's condition. A horse with equine salmonella will appear depressed with low levels of energy. He will also refuse his food due to a loss of appetite and will even refuse treats.

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