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possibility of horses contracting salmonella?

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  • possibility of horses contracting salmonella?

    My normal hay guy had to go out of town suddenly due to a death in the family, so I had to find some hay to tide me over till I can get more. I found someone else who has really nice hay and is actually a little closer to me, but they fertilize their fields with chicken litter. I periodically found little clumps of dried litter in the hay bales as I was using it, and would always throw them out before feeding the hay to the horses. But what are the chances of horses contracting salmonella from hay that has chicken litter in it? The hay itself really is nice, and I'd love to keep this guy as a back-up, but the litter worries me. TIA!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Real Rush View Post
    My normal hay guy had to go out of town suddenly due to a death in the family, so I had to find some hay to tide me over till I can get more. I found someone else who has really nice hay and is actually a little closer to me, but they fertilize their fields with chicken litter. I periodically found little clumps of dried litter in the hay bales as I was using it, and would always throw them out before feeding the hay to the horses. But what are the chances of horses contracting salmonella from hay that has chicken litter in it? The hay itself really is nice, and I'd love to keep this guy as a back-up, but the litter worries me. TIA!
    I think a lot of hay growers use chicken and turkey based fertilizers. I believe if it is composted then it is OK. Salmonella is meant to survive cold and varying oxygen levels but IIRC it is not terribly heat-resistant.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      Only if the litter has been properly composted. As in turned, aerated, heated up sufficiently to kill bacteria. Not the same as fresh or just piled up. If you are finding clumps of litter, I would assume it is not properly composted. This is one reason why its good to have a steady open relationship with a hay grower.

      http://www.extension.org/pages/39871...horse-pastures

      http://topics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009...e-safe-or-not/

      http://homeguides.sfgate.com/long-ch...zer-43419.html
      Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

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      • #4
        There is a thread on chicken manure fertilizer on the Around the Farm forum that was started mid March that can answer some of your questions.
        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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        • #5
          unless its at least 18 months old.

          Avian Dis. 1978 Oct-Dec;22(4):742-7.
          Survival of Salmonella typhimurium in poultry feed and litter at three temperatures.
          Williams JE, Benson ST.
          Abstract
          Poultry feed and litter were contaminated with a large number of Salmonella typhimurium cells and then stored at 11, 25, or 38 C. Samples of feed and litter were cultured at daily or weekly intervals. The organisms survived best at the two lower temperatures. Persistence was as follows: at 11 C, at least 18 months in both feed and litter; at 25 C, 16 months in feed and 18 months in litter; and at 38 C, about 40 days in feed and only 13 days in litter. Hence, samples of feed and litter collected for bacteriologic examination should be stored at low temperatures.

          PMID: 373743 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
          Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks everyone. I use the small-hole hay nets and sometimes if I missed a clump, I'd find them at the bottom of the nets; which meant they were too big to fall through the holes. I found one that was about 4 inches across (not sure how I missed that!), so I do question whether it was composted before being spread on the fields.

            Will try to go find the thread in Around the Farm and read up as well. Thanks again...

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            • #7
              I almost lost a horse to botulism to this.
              www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
              "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
              Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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              • #8
                Guess you better get with your Vet, to see if there are vaccines that could help prevent the problem. Doing a quick check online, the horse vaccine I found was available in Australia and NZ. Other comments said vaccine efficiency can vary with equines, but it didn't give details.

                Your Vet or maybe the State Vet College could give you the most current information on an Salmonella vaccine.

                Other sites did say that fecal material exposed to sunshine (as on a hayfield setting) was the best method to kill the germs. It also said the germs could last outside up to a year. So maybe that field would have dead germs by the time the hay was cut!

                I wouldn't want to be feeding that hay to my horses, but sometimes you have to do things you don't want to if nothing else is available. I wouldn't buy from them again, if possible.

                So get busy with questions to the Experts who should have the answers you need. Could be a vaccine, and your horse having gotten vaccinated might ease your mind.

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                • #9
                  That would concern me too! But, aren't there farms where chickens and horses run in the same pastures? How does this work? Incidentally, my mare was trapped in a trailer - with a broke down truck - with a horse shedding salmonella who became VERY sick. Luckily my mare did not.

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                  • #10
                    Years ago, a friend almost lost a horse to salmonella. Their farm was downhill from the neighbor who kept a small flock of free range chickens. Best guess was the salmonella came down the hill with some very heavy rains we had that year. It was diagnosed late as it is a rare occurrance, it seems.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lorilu View Post
                      Years ago, a friend almost lost a horse to salmonella. Their farm was downhill from the neighbor who kept a small flock of free range chickens. Best guess was the salmonella came down the hill with some very heavy rains we had that year. It was diagnosed late as it is a rare occurrance, it seems.
                      My guess would be that rodents are a much more likely source You can read more here:

                      http://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard...kens-H19.aspx?

                      http://orgprints.org/13055/1/roleofrodents.pdf

                      *IIRC in humans, so maybe in horses as well, taking medication that reduces stomach acid puts you at higher risk of getting sick from salmonella & probably other bacteria / viruses that would normally be killed by stomach acid.
                      Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing

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                      • #12
                        Salmonella can and does survive heat/cold cycles over 10-15-20 year periods. There are also over 200 different strains of salmonella. They have run tests drilling core samples 6-12-24 inches deep and found active salmonella 10-15-20 years after an occurence happened

                        Years ago when we had our first farm and first stallion, a client wanted to send her mare in for Live Cover breeding. A few days before this mare was due to come in we got to chatting and I found out another mare that had been sent to one of the local vet hospitals was sent back without the surgery being performed as she was frantic in the stall, projectile diarreah everywhere and it tested positive for salmonella and they had to shut down the hospital for clean up and they sent her home

                        I freaked. These 2 mares were paddocked together at home and I then envisioned the ready to be bred mare spreading salmonella onto my new farm

                        I then spoke with Davis, New Bolton, Guelph and Cornell and got up to speed - Fast! - on Salmonella and potential implications for me, my horses and my farm

                        Salmonella is everywhere. Unless your farm visitors, your vet, blacksmith, hay guy, feed guy, you shed your clothes and step into a sterlizing foot bath every time you come onto the property, you can all bring it home with you. There is a good chance if you step into manure at a show, you will come in contact with a salmonella shedding horse and bring it home with you on your footwear

                        The test for salmonella isnt simple. You need to take 5 samples at a cost of $125.00 each over a space of 10 days BUT - the horses cant be quietly munching in its stall either - you need to panic it so it sheds the bacteria - like taking a foal away from its mother and as she is running around her stall screaming and shooting manure out, THATS what you need to collect and have tested. Five times.

                        Colorado had a salmonella outbreak something like 10-15 years ago. Every cleaner known to man couldnt fully eradicate it so they ended up having to re-concrete that area to contain it underneath

                        So - you now go to the practical end of things. I get a lot of mares in for live cover breedings and by virtue of them coming to a strange place and leaving their friends behind, many are stressed. If they are carriers, I am assuming this is the time they are going to shed. My new horses that come into the barn Im sure are stressed too until they settle in. Mare Owners would think I was from Mars if I asked them to chase their mare around the stall with a lunge whip and make them panic - 5 times - so they would start spewing out projectile manure, and then send it in for testing to the tune of 5 x $125.00 = $625.00.

                        And how many people, buying a new horse, get it salmonella tested before it arrives? How about "0"? So how do you KNOW that your new horse is or isnt a carrier already unless you have run the tests?

                        So - you simply accept that there are some things you cannot control and manage 100% and do the very best you can

                        I was also told there is no vaccine for salmonella as there are the over 200 varieties and unless you wanted to vaccinate for all 200 you may well miss the one that would affect your horse
                        www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                        www.truecoloursproducts.com

                        True Colours Farm on Facebook

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                        • #13
                          I lost a new horse to salmonella about five years ago. Vet said he hadn't seen a case for years. We never knew where it came from.

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks again, everyone. A friend of mine lost a horse to salmonella years ago as well. TrueColours, you gave me the most peace of mind, and I thank you. So I guess now I have a new hay guy to choose from!

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