Staphylococcus is a diverse genus including several species of clinical importance to human and veterinary medicine. Little is known about the diversity of staphylococci, especially coagulase-negative species within the microbiota of dogs and cats. The pets of remote NSW represent a unique population in which to investigate skin microbiota with low levels of exposure to antimicrobials and contact with a human population with a high incidence of antimicrobial-resistant staphylococcal infections.
This study aimed to characterise the staphylococcal microbiota of a population of dogs and cats from remote NSW, Australia.
Three swabs (nostrils, oropharynx, perineum) were collected from dogs and cats participating in a Companion-Animal Health Program in north-west NSW. Swabs were cultured on selective media for Staphylococcus spp. and for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus spp. Species identification was confirmed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry.
Isolates from 218 dogs and 39 cats were identified to species level. MRSA was isolated from 2.3% of dogs and no cats. No methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius was isolated from dogs or cats. The diversity of Staphylococcus spp. was high with 16 species represented, including 13 coagulase-negative species (Tables 1 & 2). Staphylococcus pseudintermedius was the most frequent isolate from dogs and S. felis from cats. Staphylococcus aureus was only isolated from 3.7% of dogs.
MRSA was isolated from a high proportion of dogs relative to comparable populations, despite a low prevalence of S. aureus. This study confirms staphylococcal microbiota of dogs and cats is diverse and includes a wide range of coagulase-negative species.