Environmental Salmonella poses many risks to equine veterinarian clinics and hospitals. With a Salmonella outbreak comes high costs, negative public perception, loss of business, and the risk of transmission to other animals and humans. As Fluxergy begins installations across many Equine practices, meeting biosecurity standards is now more affordable and accessible.
Equine Biosecurity Standard of Care
Dr. Nicola Pusterla, PhD, Dip ACVIM and AVDC-Equine at the University of California, Davis spoke on the advancement of biosecurity precautions and why Salmonella screening is an important pillar of biosecurity at his AAEP 2021 presentation.
“The challenge with Salmonella, is not to find that a sick horse could potentially have Salmonella. The challenge is to determine that several healthy horses being seen for elective procedures are free of Salmonella shedding. Environmental contamination does not always come from sick animals, it often comes from silent shedders.” He continues, “Is testing worth it even if only 1-5% cases will be positive? Absolutely, as shutting down your hospital and dealing with the negative consequences from patient acquired nosocomial infection are worth avoiding.”
Dr. Pusterla and their veterinary team have implemented a funnel strategy at UC Davis to evaluate the risk of infectiousness with levels of no risk, intermediate risk, or high risk of shedding. Once determined, measures are taken to prevent and control the spread immediately. In addition, the UC Davis Teaching Hospital regularly tests for environmental Salmonella and utilizes cost-effective strategies such as sample pooling, risk-based location sampling, and adding a biosecurity fee as a standard cost to the client.
“The key is creatively allocating the costs and designing smart processes to monitor your facility”
Dr. Pusterla explains “I was getting tired of taking the sample, shipping the sample, waiting for the lab to do the enrichment step, then test the sample and wait for results. Most of the costs associated with this process come from shipping alone. He adds, “While a select number of large practices conduct on-site plate-based culture tests, PCR testing can save time in the workflow and provides a more sensitive test that is specific to the target virulence gene.”
With the Fluxergy platform, shipping time and costs are eliminated, providing a time-efficient, easy-to-use, and low-cost way of taking these preventative measures via PCR testing. The Salmonella PCR test kit requires 5 minutes of hands-on time and 50 minutes of read time for testing an enriched environmental sponge sample.
Fluxergy has started an independent evaluation with the Equine Infectious Disease Laboratory at UC Davis led by Dr. Pusterla and Laboratory Manager Samantha Barnum MS to ensure the efficacy of the point-of-care PCR platform for environmental and clinical screening of salmonella. UC Davis strives to advance veterinary care of horses through leading research and education. Research findings are directly applied, facilitating continuous improvements in the standard of equine veterinary care.