“I was going to buy some seed and peanut suet for the wild birds, and thought about the peanut butter problem in the news. Can birds get salmonella?” Many Newton Falls Public Library staff members also enjoy feeding the birds and have pets of their own, so we wondered about them as well.
In Bird Owner's Home Health and Care Handbook by Gary A. Gallerstein, there is a section about intestinal disorders. It states that salmonella is a “notorious” cause of this disorder [p. 143]. Gallerstein’s book has an interesting chapter on wild birds, how to attract them, their food preferences, and the care of injured or orphaned birds. Searching online revealed additional information about this infection and birds. AvianBioTech.Com [www.avianbiotech.com/diseases/salmonella.htm] listed general symptoms which include lethargy, anorexia, diarrhea, and in chronic cases, arthritis (particularly in pigeons) that may be present. They also include unique clinical symptoms for certain species of birds. In the online article, Salmonella Infection in Birds: Maintain a Bird Feeder that Won’t Spread Salmonellosis
by Rosemary Drisidelle [wild-birds.suite101.com/article.cfm/salmonella_infection_in_birds], Drisdelle lists many tips for maintaining safe conditions. Some of the hints are: start with a good birdfeeder; bake birdseed for one hour at 250F; keep the feeder clean and disinfected; and minimize the growth of mold in the seed. She also notes that birdbaths can be a source of the spread of salmonella and other diseases, so it should be refreshed and disinfected.
The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health has information on salmonella infection in cats, dogs, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, horses, and pet mice and rats. The disease is more frequently seen in hamsters and gerbils, than other the domesticated animals.
Information about the peanut product recall is available from the Food and Drug Administration’s website [http://www.blogger.com/www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html]. There you will find links to all pet products affected by this recall. The FDA also included a warning on the site for people who may handle contaminated pet food products, to wash their hands with hot water and soap before and after handling pet-food products and utensils. According to this site, the symptoms of Salmonella infections in pets include lethargy, “diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Well animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.” They also report that as of March 2, they have not received any reports of illness associated with pet products.