Detection and DNA quantification of Enterococcus casseliflavus in a foal with septic meningitis

Valentina StefanettiDipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Centro di studio del Cavallo Sportivo, Università degli studi di Perugia, 06124 Perugia, Italy.

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Francesca BeccatiDipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Centro di studio del Cavallo Sportivo, Università degli studi di Perugia, 06124 Perugia, Italy.

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Fabrizio PassamontiDipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Centro di studio del Cavallo Sportivo, Università degli studi di Perugia, 06124 Perugia, Italy.

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Elisa SgarigliaDipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Centro di studio del Cavallo Sportivo, Università degli studi di Perugia, 06124 Perugia, Italy.

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Mauro ColettiDipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Centro di studio del Cavallo Sportivo, Università degli studi di Perugia, 06124 Perugia, Italy.

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Matteo VuerichDipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Centro di studio del Cavallo Sportivo, Università degli studi di Perugia, 06124 Perugia, Italy.

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Maria Luisa MarenzoniDipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Centro di studio del Cavallo Sportivo, Università degli studi di Perugia, 06124 Perugia, Italy.

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Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 3-month-old 180-kg (396-lb) Hanoverian colt was examined because of fever, lethargy, inappetence, drooping of the left ear, and stiff neck posture. Initial treatment included empirical antimicrobial treatment and NSAIDs.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Initial findings were consistent with CNS anomalies. Endoscopy revealed hyperemia, ecchymosis, and some mucopurulent exudate in the right guttural pouch. Hematologic findings were consistent with neutrophilic inflammation. On the third day of hospitalization, severe neurologic signs were observed. Computed tomography of the skull revealed a comminuted fracture of the axial aspect of the right mandibular condyle. Examination of CSF revealed turbidity, xanthochromia, and intracellular and extracellular cocci, consistent with septic meningitis. After DNA extraction from blood and CSF, sequenced products from a PCR assay for the bacterial 16S rRNA gene were 99% identical to Enterococcus casseliflavus. Microbial culture of CSF and blood samples yielded bacteria with Enterococcus spp morphology; antimicrobials were selected on the basis of susceptibility testing that identified the isolate as vancomycin resistant. A quantitative PCR assay was used to estimate Enterococcus DNA concentrations in CSF and blood.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Treatment for E casseliflavus meningitis, including trimethoprim-sulfadiazine and ampicillin sodium administration, resulted in resolution of clinical signs. Culture of CSF and blood samples after 12 days of the targeted treatment yielded no growth.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE To the authors' knowledge, this was the first report of E casseliflavus meningitis in a horse. Treatment was successful; vancomycin-resistant enterococci can be a clinical problem and may potentially be zoonotic.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 3-month-old 180-kg (396-lb) Hanoverian colt was examined because of fever, lethargy, inappetence, drooping of the left ear, and stiff neck posture. Initial treatment included empirical antimicrobial treatment and NSAIDs.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Initial findings were consistent with CNS anomalies. Endoscopy revealed hyperemia, ecchymosis, and some mucopurulent exudate in the right guttural pouch. Hematologic findings were consistent with neutrophilic inflammation. On the third day of hospitalization, severe neurologic signs were observed. Computed tomography of the skull revealed a comminuted fracture of the axial aspect of the right mandibular condyle. Examination of CSF revealed turbidity, xanthochromia, and intracellular and extracellular cocci, consistent with septic meningitis. After DNA extraction from blood and CSF, sequenced products from a PCR assay for the bacterial 16S rRNA gene were 99% identical to Enterococcus casseliflavus. Microbial culture of CSF and blood samples yielded bacteria with Enterococcus spp morphology; antimicrobials were selected on the basis of susceptibility testing that identified the isolate as vancomycin resistant. A quantitative PCR assay was used to estimate Enterococcus DNA concentrations in CSF and blood.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Treatment for E casseliflavus meningitis, including trimethoprim-sulfadiazine and ampicillin sodium administration, resulted in resolution of clinical signs. Culture of CSF and blood samples after 12 days of the targeted treatment yielded no growth.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE To the authors' knowledge, this was the first report of E casseliflavus meningitis in a horse. Treatment was successful; vancomycin-resistant enterococci can be a clinical problem and may potentially be zoonotic.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Stefanetti (valentina.stefanetti@studenti.unipg.it).
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