College of Veterinary Medicine

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab

WSU-WADDL is participating in a Salmonella research study sponsored by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and needs your dog's or cat's "doo-doo".

In exchange, you can get a $5 gift certification from Ferdinand's Ice Cream Shoppe.

The study's goal is to determine the prevalence of Salmonella carriage (intestinal infection) in dogs and cats kept as household pets throughout the USA. Eleven institutions across the nation are participating in the study and performing the laboratory testing.

The only effort required of you is to collect the fecal sample (as instructed below), fill out a WADDL accession form, a simple questionnaire about your dog or cat, sign a client consent form.

Bring the sample to WADDL (Bustad Hall, Room 155N). JUST ONE SAMPLE PER HOUSEHOLD.

Stool Sample Collection Instructions:

  • Most dogs defecate after meals, so watch your dog then.
  • Observe animal defecating (no picking up un-observed feces)
  • Flip a new, clean plastic "sandwich sized" ziplock bag "inside out" and place it on your hand. Use this "glove" to pick up the sample being careful not to get any soil or plant matter.
  • If the idea of handling the stool in this way bothers you, use a very clean disposable implement, such as a tongue depressor to scoop up a sample into the zip lock back.
  • Place zip-lock bag containing sample into a second clean zip lock bag and label with pet’s name.
  • Obtain at least 10 gm of feces (about 1 tablespoon), but more is preferable (1/4 cup)
  • Bring the double-bagged sample to WADDL within 24 hours (Bustad Hall, Room 155N)


  • Don't worry about litter in the sample. It's okay. 
  • A good way to obtain a sample is to remove the litter box in the evening, then replace the box in the morning with FRESH litter. Many cats will use the fresh litter immediately. 
  • If you have multiple cats using the same box, you can isolate 'the patient' in a room with a separate, clean litter box until he or she defecates. 
  • Pick up the sample immediately after defecation is possible 
  • To pick up the sample flip a new, clean plastic bag "inside out" and place it on your hand and pick up the sample and return bag to "outside out".
  • If the idea of handling the stool in this way bothers you, use a very clean disposable implement, such as a tongue depressor to scoop up a sample and maneuver into the specimen container.
  • Obtain at least 10 gm of feces (about 1 tablespoon) but more is preferable.
  • Bring the double-bagged sample to WADDL within 24 hours (Bustad Hall, Room 155N).

Any questions please contact Dr. Dubra Diaz (509-335-6044, or Dr. Tim Baszler (509-335-6047, at WADDL.

Determining the amount, type, and risk factors of fecal Salmonella carriage in dogs and cats, and its relationship to clinical disease will fill a knowledge gap in understanding of salmonellosis in pets. In particular, the data would assist in developing microbial risk assessment methods to aid in managing the risk of salmonellosis in humans cohabiting with dogs and cats.

Frequent asked questions about Salmonella in dogs and cats

What are Salmonella?
Salmonella are bacteria that cause an infection called salmonellosis (sal-mohn-el-OH-sis). Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain 12 to 72 hours after infection.

The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most individuals recover without treatment. Some individuals may have no signs or symptoms of infection.

Can dogs or cats become infected with Salmonella?
Yes, dogs and cats can get salmonellosis. They can also carry Salmonella without getting sick. Pets that become ill may stop eating and may develop diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Some cats do not have diarrhea, but have decreased appetite and fever. Most ill pets recover completely.

How do people and pets get infected with Salmonella?
Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of people and animals, including birds. Salmonella usually are transmitted to people or animals when they eat contaminated food. Salmonella are also transmitted when contaminated objects are put into the mouth. Salmonella occasionally can be found in pet foods and treats and can cause infections in dogs, cats, and people. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stepped up its efforts to minimize the incidence of foodborne illness associated with pet foods and treats.

How many dogs and cats are infected with Salmonella?
The frequency with which pet dogs and cats are infected by Salmonella with or without signs of illness is not known. Therefore, the purpose of the current study is to help the FDA determine the occurrence of Salmonella in dogs and cats.

How will the study be performed?
The goal of the study is to collect fecal samples from 100 dogs and cats without signs of salmonellosis and to collect fecal samples from 100 dogs and cats that have signs of potential salmonellosis.

What will be needed from my pet to participate?
All that is needed from your dog or cat is a fresh fecal sample.

Did you know your dog or cat could have been exposed to Salmonella from the environment, other animals, or by eating contaminated pet food or treats?
We are conducting a study with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to see how many dogs and cats may have come in contact with Salmonella.

WashingtonAnimal Disease Diagnostic Lab. PO Box 647034 , Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-7034, 509-335-9696, Contact Us  Safety Links
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