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  • Author or Editor: Kathleen O'Shea x
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Objective—To compare clinical information obtained from medical records of cats with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) infections, evaluate antibiograms of MRSA and MSSA for multiple-drug resistance (MDR), and characterize the strain type and staphylococcal chromosome cassette (SCC)mec type of each MRSA.

Sample Population—70 S aureus isolates obtained from 46 cats.

Procedures—Clinical information obtained from medical records, including signalment, clinical signs, histologic examination of affected tissues, and outcomes, was compared between the 2 groups. Composite antibiograms of MRSA and MSSA were compared statistically. The MRSA strains were characterized by use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and SCCmec typing.

Results—No statistical differences in signalment or subjective differences in clinical signs or outcomes were detected between groups with MRSA or MSSA infection. Significant differences in antimicrobial resistance were detected, with MRSA having complete resistance to fluoroquinolone and macrolide antimicrobials, whereas MSSA maintained a high frequency of susceptibility. Seven pulsed-field patterns were observed in 15 MRSA strains; all but 1 were highly related. All MRSA isolates contained a type II SCCmec element.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Because MDR cannot be predicted in staphylococcal infections in cats on the basis of clinical signalment, culture and susceptibility testing are recommended whenever initial empirical treatment is unsuccessful. Molecular characterization of MRSA strains suggests that there has been reverse-zoonotic transmission from humans.

Impact for Human Medicine—The SCCmec type II element is typically associated with nosocomial MRSA infections of people. Cats may serve as reservoirs for MRSA infections in humans.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To assess the degree of biological similarity (on the basis of genotype determined via pulsed-field gel electrophoresis [PFGE]) between isolates of 2 Staphylococcus schleiferi subspecies (S schleiferi subsp coagulans and S schleiferi subsp schleiferi) in clinical samples obtained from dogs.

Sample Population—161 S schleiferi isolates from 160 canine patients.

Procedures—A commercial microbiology identification system was used to identify each isolate as S schleiferi. Isolates underwent slide and tube coagulase testing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. A mecA PCR assay and a latex agglutination test for penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a) were also performed on each isolate. Clonal clusters with a similarity cutoff value of 80% were identified via PFGE.

Results—Of the 161 isolates, 61 (38%), 79 (49%), and 21 (13%) were obtained from cutaneous sites, ears, and other sites, respectively; 110 (68%) were coagulase negative, and 51 (32%) were coagulase positive. Among the coagulase-negative and coagulase-positive isolates, 65% (71/110) and 39% (20/51) were oxacillin resistant, respectively. All oxacillin-resistant isolates yielded positive results via mecA PCR assay and PBP2a latex agglutination testing. Via PFGE, 15 major clusters and 108 individual pulsed-field profiles were identified. Oxacillin-resistant and oxacillin-susceptible isolates clustered separately. Clonal clusters were heterogeneous and contained representatives of both subspecies.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Coagulase-positive and coagulase-negative isolates were not genotypically distinct and may represent a single S schleiferi sp with variable coagulase production, rather than 2 biologically distinct subspecies. Further studies are needed to characterize clinical or epidemiological differences associated with infections with coagulase-positive and coagulase-negative S schleiferi in dogs.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To ascertain whether Malassezia organisms can be detected via cytologic examination and fungal culture of samples from the skin surface of psittacine birds and determine whether the number of those organisms differs between unaffected psittacines and those that have chronic feather-destructive behavior or differs by body region.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—50 unaffected psittacines and 53 psittacines that had feather-destructive behavior.

Procedure—Samples were collected by use of acetate tape strips from the skin of the head, neck, proventer, propatagium, inguinal region, and preen gland area of each bird; 0.5-cm2 sample areas were examined microscopically for yeast, and samples were also incubated on Sabouraud dextrose agar. Polymerase chain reaction assays specific for Malassezia spp, saprophytic fungi, and Candida albicans were performed on DNA prepared from cultured colonies; nested PCR evaluation for Malassezia pachydermatis was then performed.

Results—Microscopically, 63 of 618 (10%) tape-strip samples contained yeast. Thirty cultured colonies were assessed via PCR assays, and all yielded negative results for Malassezia spp; C albicans was identified in 2 colony samples. The numbers of yeast identified microscopically in psittacines with feather-destructive behavior and in unaffected birds did not differ significantly, and numbers did not differ by body region.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Yeast were identified infrequently via cytologic examination of samples from the skin surface of unaffected psittacine birds or those that had chronic feather-destructive behavior. If yeast are identified on the skin of birds with feather-destructive behaviors, fungal culture of skin samples should be performed to identify the organism.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association