Epidemiological and bacteriological analyses of Salmonella infection in the Australian Thoroughbred horse breeding industry

Charles Sturt University

  • Project code: PRO-015534

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Tuesday, August 2, 2022

  • Project completion date: Monday, December 2, 2024

  • National Priority: HOR-Thoroughbred diseases and parasites


Salmonella enterica is the most important contagious enteropathogen of horses of all ages, causing diarrhoea, colic, extra-intestinal disease, systemic illness and death. This study will investigate the epidemiological and bacteriological features of Salmonella infection and shedding in the Australian Thoroughbred breeding industry. Despite the importance of Salmonella as a major cause of intestinal disease, substantial morbidity and mortality in affected horses, the risk factors for Salmonella infection in horses in Australia are unknown. Salmonella represents a major risk to the health and welfare of horses and can lead to substantial disruption to the sustainability and functionality of equine premises, studs and equine veterinary hospitals. Through retrospective and prospective epidemiological investigations, prevalence and risk factors for Salmonella shedding and the impact of Salmonella-associated disease in two key industry settings (equine veterinary hospitals and Thoroughbred stud farms) will be investigated and analysed. Equine hospitals are integral in the management and optimisation of horse health and are at the forefront of infection control and biosecurity challenges and responses for the industry.  Similarly, Thoroughbred stud farms have instrumental importance to the well-being of horse health. Serotyping of Salmonella isolates will be undertaken to investigate candidate routes of transmission of Salmonella in horse populations and facilities. Environmental sampling will be performed to identify important sources of Salmonella exposure to horses. Generation of epidemiological and bacteriological information to understand and address challenges to the Thoroughbred industry will be used to develop evidence-based risk mitigation strategies for the benefit of all stakeholders. 


Thoroughbred Horses

Research Organisation

Charles Sturt University