Red-eared sliders, Trachemys scripta elegans, have been found to shed Salmonella spp. in their feces. Because of the risk of reptile-associated salmonellosis attributed to terrapins in the 1960s and 1970s, the United States Food and Drug Administration established regulations restricting the sale of chelonian <10.2 cm. In an attempt to reverse this regulation, aquatic chelonian farmers from Louisiana have been evaluating different methods to suppress or eliminate Salmonella spp. in their turtles. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a non-antibiotic compound, polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB), as a potential method to suppress or eliminate Salmonella Typhimurium in the water column of red-eared sliders being transported off farm. Hatchling red-eared sliders were divided into three groups: Group 1—Water inoculated with S. Typhimurium (107, 106, 105) and treated with PHMB, Group 2—water inoculated with S. Typhimurium (107, 106, 105) and not treated with PHMB, and Group 3—water not inoculated with S. Typhimurium and not treated with PHMB. All of the water samples collected from group 1 and 3 transport bags were Salmonella- free, while the majority of the samples (7/9) collected from Group 2 water were positive. Water samples not treated with PHMB (Group 2) were significantly (p=0.00001) more likely to be S. Typhimurium -positive than those treated with PHMB (Group 1). The intestinal tracts of red-eared sliders in Group 1 (8/18; 44%, 95% CI: 22–66) were significantly less likely (p=0.04) to be S. Typhimurium positive than those in Group 2 (14/18; 78%, 95% CI: 58–97). Intestinal cultures collected from the red-eared sliders in Group 3 were all Salmonella-free (0/18). The results of this study suggest that PHMB may be used to successfully suppress or eliminate S. Typhimurium in red-eared sliderstransport water.

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