Friday, December 4, 2015

The Truth About Getting Sick with Salmonella

"People get sick from Salmonella because they have no immunity to it. Getting Salmonella will help build my immunity to Salmonella so in the future I won't get sick from it."  - Statement posted as a reply to a post on the Chicken Whisperer Facebook page on October 17, 2015.

Getting an infection with Salmonella does not mean you will never get an infection with Salmonella again. Some immunity may be formed after infection with the germ, but it may not be effective if you subsequently receive a high dose of the germ and immunity may not last your whole life.  Also, there are many different types of Salmonella that can make you sick, so it is possible you may not get infected by the same type. Salmonella can cause serious illness or even death. Children younger than age 5, people older than 65, and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for serious infection. Advice from CDC to help prevent getting sick with Salmonella can be found at:

Answer provided by Megin Nichols, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
Enteric Zoonoses Team Lead
Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch
Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Truth About Pumpkin Seeds

"Pumpkin seeds are a natural dewormer in chickens." AND/OR "Pumpkin seeds prevent worms in chickens."  - Statement(s) found on multiple Facebook chicken groups posted on November 28, 2015.

After a search of the literature and talking to other veterinary colleagues, I can definitively state that there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.  While anecdotally one or more people may have noticed an effect, it is important to recognize that in order to definitively determine the beneficial effect of any potential medication or supplement controlled scientific trials are essential to determine their efficacy.  Specifically, we would need a controlled flock of birds with worms; half of the flock would be given the pumpkin seeds and the other half of the flock a sham or placebo.  Next, the worm load would be determined and if there was a significant difference between the two groups you could start to consider the potential beneficial effects.

Obviously, people observe things anecdotally and draw conclusions from their observations.  However, we need some level of scientific rigor to validate anecdotal claims.  Science is slow and tedious.  Things like repeatability, dose effect, and other types of "confounding" factors make results challenging to interpret.  Simply stating that pumpkin seeds are a natural dewormer is not good science or medicine in my opinion.

Answer provided by Maurice Pitesky DVM, MPVM, DACVPM
Veterinarian/Assistant Specialist in Cooperative Extension
Poultry Health and Food Safety Epidemiology
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California