Canine Foetal and Neonatal Mortality Due to Coinfection with Zoonotic Agents: Brucella sp., Leishmania infantum, and Antimicrobial-Resistant Staphylococcus schleiferi subsp. coagulans and Escherichia coli
Breeding dogs exposes owners and kennel employees to vaginal discharges and puppies’ excretions. Canine brucellosis is a worldwide bacterial zoonosis, which poses many diagnostic challenges. Visceral leishmaniosis due to Leishmania infantum is a protozoan zoonotic reemergent vector-borne disease that can be vertically transmitted in dogs. Canine perinatal morbidity and mortality is often due to opportunistic bacterial infections.
We report a case of canine foetal and neonatal death in a dog litter in which Brucella sp. was diagnosed in co-infection with gram-positive and gram-negative antimicrobial resistant bacteria and Leishmania infantum.
Twelve dead puppies and placentas were submitted to necropsy. Tissue samples were subjected to histopathology; bacterial isolation and identification through biochemistry, Bactray® and MALDI-TOF; conventional PCR; and immunohistochemistry.
The pregnant bitch presented anorexia and depression one week before delivery. Clinical condition deteriorated with pyoderma, thrombocytopenia, and foetal death despite treatment. Caesarean section was performed before term with delivery of one mummified and four stillborn foetuses, and nine neonates. Seven neonates died up to five days after birth with diarrhoea and hypothermia. Eleven puppies presented pneumonia, hepatitis, enteritis, and were positive for Brucella; one stillborn was positive for L. infantum. Staphylococcus schleiferi subsp. coagulans was isolated from placentas and the five foetuses, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, and Klebsiella pneumoniae exclusively from neonates. S. schleiferi and E. coli were resistant to different antimicrobials, including b-lactams.
This report highlights the complex aetiology in canine perinatal mortality and its zoonotic risk, widely neglected by breeders and veterinarians.