Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Client Services Section Head Dr. Ashley Arnold was lead author for a longitudinal evaluation of Salmonella in cattle. Environmental components and the cattle’s lymph nodes were evaluated from weaning to finish at three feeding locations. Data from this study provide insight into Salmonella prevalence differences among cattle feeding operations and the possible influence of environmental and/or management practices at each operation.
Salmonella prevalence in bovine lymph nodes (LNs) varies due to seasonality, geographic location, and feedyard environment. The objectives of this study were to (1) establish prevalence rates of Salmonella in environmental components (trough water, pen soil, individual feed ingredients, prepared rations, and fecal samples) and LNs from weaning to finish in three feeding locations, and (2) characterize recovered salmonellae. Calves (n = 120) were raised at the Texas A&M University McGregor Research Center; in lieu of beginning the backgrounding/stocker phase, thirty weanling calves were harvested. Of the remaining ninety calves, thirty were retained at McGregor and sixty were transported to commercial feeding operations (Location A or B; thirty calves each). Locations A and B have historically produced cattle with relatively “low” and “high” rates of Salmonella-positive LNs, respectively. Ten calves per location were harvested at the conclusion of (1) the backgrounding/stocker phase, (2) 60 d on feed, and (3) 165 d on feed. On each harvest day, peripheral LNs were excised. Environmental samples were obtained from each location before and after each phase, and every 30 d during the feeding period. In line with previous work, no Salmonella-positive LNs were recovered from cattle managed at Location A. Salmonella-positive LNs (30%) and environmental components (41%) were most commonly recovered from Location B. Of 7 and 36 total serovars recovered from Salmonella-positive LN and environmental samples, respectively, Anatum was identified most frequently. Data from this study provide insight into Salmonella prevalence differences among feeding locations and the possible influence of environmental and/or management practices at each. Such information can be used to shape industry best practices to reduce Salmonella prevalence in cattle feeding operations, resulting in a decreased prevalence of Salmonella in LNs, and thus, minimizing risks to human health.
The full text can be viewed in the Journal of Food Protection.