Salmonella Dublin septicemia in a puppy

Murray Hazlett, Patricia Lechten, Đurđa Slavić

Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, ON (Hazlett, Slavić), Allandale Veterinary Hospital, Barrie, ON (Lechten)

AHL Newsletter 2020;24(1):23.

A 12-week-old French Bulldog was presented to the veterinary clinic November 6th for vomiting and poor appetite. Hematologic (complete blood count) and biochemical results were unremarkable. The puppy was treated symptomatically with some improvement. Two weeks later, he returned vomiting and emaciated. Blood was present in the feces, but there was no diarrhea. CBC and serum biochemistry were again unremarkable. Radiographs were normal. Ultrasound showed a thickened ileum and viral enteritis was suspected. The puppy would eat if force fed. Blood cleared from stool. The puppy died a week later and was submitted for postmortem examination.

Postmortem results were mild diffuse pulmonary edema and congestion. No lesions were seen involving heart, liver, thyroids, thymus, spleen, or adrenals. Kidneys were pale with occasional non-raised red foci on the surface. The stomach was empty with small amounts of mucoid liquid tan content in lower small intestine and colon, and acute enteritis was suspected.

Histologically, there was evidence of septicemia with intravascular bacteria present in most organs. Foci of necrosis were present in the spleen, there was acute neutrophilic interstitial nephritis (Fig. 1A and 1B) and focal meningitis. Occasional dilated crypts were present in the intestine. Colonic culture revealed 4+ Salmonella Dublin with no other enteric pathogens present (testing was done for Yersinia spp., Campylobacter spp., parvovirus and coronavirus).

Salmonella Dublin is a cattle-adapted serotype of Salmonella enterica. It is frequently identified at the AHL where it is seen as an emerging problem in Ontario cattle, causing acute septicemia.

Like most Salmonella spp, Salmonella Dublin is zoonotic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 3,903 cases of human S. Dublin infections between 1968 and 2013. It is much more commonly recovered from blood (61%) than other Salmonella spp. (5%). Humans with the disease required hospitalization more frequently (75%) than other Salmonella infections (27%). Some outbreaks in humans have occurred from foodborne sources, such as raw beef, raw milk, and cheese.

This puppy was from a kennel where raw meat is occasionally fed. The source of the meat is unknown, but we suspect it may have been the source of the S. Dublin in this case. We are not aware of Salmonella Dublin being reported in dogs before. No other dogs or people in the household appeared to be affected.  AHL

Figure 1A1B Neutrophilic inflammation

Figure 1A. Neutrophilic inflammation (arrow) in the renal cortex associated with Salmonella Dublin.

Figure 1B. Close-up of a glomerulus with bacterial colonies (arrow).

1. Harvey et al. Epidemiology of Salmonella enterica serotype Dublin infections among humans, United States, 1968–2013.  Emerg Infect Dis 2017:23(9):1493-1501.