Pasteurella (P.) multocida is a gram-negative, non-motile pleomorphic coccobacilli with bipolar staining character. P. multocida is normally maintained as a commensal of the oropharynx of mammals but it usually causes respiratory disease and septicemia in pigs and cattle.4 There are several reports of P. multocida infection in otters characterized by respiratory infections, septicaemia and endocarditis with a very high mortality rate.1 Peritonitis associated P. multocida infection is rarely reported in domestic animals.2 Recently, a 7-year-old girl treated with peritoneal dialysis developed a peritonitis due to P. multocida infection after physical contact of the dialysis machine with a domestic cat.3 In this study, we report peritonitis associated with P. multocida infections in an Asian small clawed river otter.
An Asian small clawed river otter raised in the Hanwha Aqua Planet in Jeju was found dead and submitted to the Pathology Department of Veterinary Medicine, Jeju National University, January 2013. This otter had a one week history of anorexia, chill, and abdominal distention. Necropsy was performed and visceral organs were fixed with 10% neutral buffered formalin and prepared into paraffin sections and stained with hematoxylin & eosin and Gram staining for light microscopy. Fibrinous materials of visceral surface were aseptically collected for bacterial culture and were inoculated on sheep blood and MacConkey agar and aerobically incubated for 48 h at 37°C. To differentiate and confirm the causative bacteria, VITEK 2 system and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were applied to the isolated bacterial colonies.
Grossly, yellowish-brown turbid fluid was found in abdominal cavity of the otter. The liver and spleen were enlarged and dark-red in color. Several variable sized yellowish-white crystalloids were scattered on the medullary space of kidneys. Histologically, diffuse serositis (peritonitis), multifocal necrosis, hemorrhage, infiltration of macrophage, and brown pigments were presented in the liver. Isolated bacteria were white, smooth and convex with characteristic mousy odor on blood agar plate. However, no typical bacteria were grown in MacConkey agar plate. These bacteria were confirmed as P. multocida by VITEK 2 system and P. multocida serotype A by PCR analysis.
Based on the histopathologic findings and bacterial cultures, the Asian small clawed river otter was diagnosed with severe peritonitis and necrotic hepatitis associated with P. multocida. Pasteurellosis in otter have been reported in other countries1, but, this is the first pathological study for peritonitis caused by P. multocida infection of otter in Korea.
* Presenting author
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4. Sol PM, Van de Kar NC, Schreuder MF. Cat induced Pasteurella multocida peritonitis in peritoneal dialysis: a case report and review of the literature. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2013;216:211–213.