Staphylococcus pseudintermedius: A Newly Recognized Pathogen in Dogs and Cats
ACVIM 2008
M.C. Faires1; D. Slavic2; J.S. Weese1
1Ontario Veterinary College; 2Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada

Staphylococcus intermedius has typically been regarded as the predominant pathogenic Staphylococcus spp in dogs and cats, and a leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections. In 2005, a novel Staphylococcus species, Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, was identified. This organism is closely related to, but distinct from, S. intermedius. Gene-sequence based methods are required to differentiate these two species; however, these techniques are rarely performed in clinical laboratories, and as a result the prevalence and characteristics of S. pseudintermedius are poorly understood. Recent evidence suggests that S. pseudintermedius may actually be the predominant Staphylococcus spp in dogs and cats but misidentified as S. intermedius by diagnostic laboratories. The objective of this study was to use sequence based methods to identify putative S. intermedius isolates from dogs and cats and to evaluate antimicrobial resistance and virulence factors among S. pseudintermedius isolates.

Isolates from dogs and cats identified as S. intermedius by conventional laboratory methods were obtained from the University of Guelph Animal Health Laboratory. Isolates were collected in a serial manner without selection. DNA was extracted, sequencing of the sodA gene was performed and isolates were identified via sequence alignment with reference staphylococcal strains through GenBank (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/blast/BLAST.cgi). Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed and PCR was used to identify various virulence factors and antimicrobial genes.

A total of 25 isolates were obtained from 21 dogs and 2 cats. Medical records were not available for 2 of the isolates. 25/25 (100%) were identified as S. pseudintermedius Severity of infection ranged from superficial dermatitis to rapidly fatal necrotizing fasciitis with the majority of isolates from otitis externa 9/23 (39.1%) and urinary tract infections 6/23 (26.1%). Antimicrobial susceptibility was as follows: amoxicillin/clavulanate 23/23 (100%), ampicillin 7/23 (30.4%), cephalothin 23/23 (100%), clindamycin 18/23 (78.3%), gentamicin 23/23 (100%), tetracycline 18/23 (78.3% and trimethoprim/sulfa 19/23 (82.6%). Not all antimicrobials were tested for all isolates, based on laboratory protocols regarding antimicrobial panel and site of infection. Inducible resistance to clindamycin was detected by D-test in 1 isolate reported as clindamycin-susceptible (5.6%). Detection of virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance genes is ongoing.

This study identified S. pseudintermedius as an important pathogen in dogs and cats, and suggests that S. intermedius may not be a major concern in these species. Further studies are required to evaluate clinically relevant virulence factors to assist in understanding the pathogenesis of disease caused by S. pseudintermedius.

Speaker Information
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J. Scott Weese, DVSc, DACVIM
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON, Canada


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