Salmonella Infection in Rats

Salmonellosis in Rats

Salmonellosis is a diseased condition that is brought about by infection with the Salmonella bacterium. Salmonellosis is very rare in pet rats and infection is usually found to have been spread via ingestion of food and water contaminated with infected feces, urine, and bedding material.

Infected rats can be potential sources for spread of this infection to humans as well, classifying this as an infection with zoonotic potential. Therefore, this condition should be managed with caution. Treatment is often not effective for the control of salmonellosis, so taking steps to prevent the spread of this infection is the best way to manage this condition in rats.

Symptoms and Types

  • Depression
  • Dehydration and rough body coat
  • Distended/swollen abdomen
  • Diarrhea and weight loss
  • Spontaneous abortion (in pregnant rats)
  • Fatal (in most cases)


Contact withbacteria belonging to the salmonella species is the most common cause of salmonellosis. Other causes include:

  • Eating food that has been contaminated by salmonella tainted feces
  • Food, water, or bedding contaminated by carriers of salmonella, such as wild rodents


Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your rat, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. Observing the clinical symptoms exhibited by the infected rat can help in making a diagnosis, but collecting fecal samples for culturing and identifying the bacterial species responsible for the infection will be necessary for making a confirmatory diagnosis.


The singular form of the word bacteria; a tiny, microscopic organism only made up of one cell.

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