Objective—To define clinical differences between coagulase-positive and coagulase-negative Staphylococcus schleiferi infections in dogs and to identify risk factors for the isolation of oxacillin-resistant S schleiferi.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—225 dogs (yielding 225 S schleiferi isolates).
Procedures—Information obtained from affected dogs' medical records included isolate body site source, antimicrobial treatments, and primary disease. For each dog, the S schleiferi isolate was characterized and antimicrobial susceptibility data were recorded. Risk factors for infection based on coagulase status and for S schleiferi oxacillin resistance were investigated.
Results—Allergic dermatitis was the most common underlying disease (111/225 dogs). Ears (102 [45%]) and skin (95 [42%]) were sources of most of the 225 isolates. Isolate coagulase status was not significantly associated with any patient-level factors. Of the 225 isolates, 129 (57%) were oxacillin resistant. Coagulase-negative isolates were more likely to be oxacillin resistant than were coagulase-positive isolates (odds ratio [OR], 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 3.0). Administration of penicillin-based or first-generation cephalosporin drugs (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.8 to 5.9) and third-generation cephalosporins (OR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.1 to 12.3) within 30 days prior to culture were risk factors for oxacillin resistance.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that coagulase-negative and coagulase-positive S schleiferi are potential pathogens in dogs and are often oxacillin resistant. Recent patient treatments with penicillin or cephalosporin were risk factors for oxacillin resistance. In clinical cases, full speciation of all Staphylococcus isolates should be performed and microbial treatments should be selected on the basis of results of susceptibility testing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Objective—To survey 2 populations of psittacines to characterize Staphylococcus spp isolated from commensal cutaneous microflora.
Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.
Animals—107 psittacine birds from a sanctuary and 73 psittacine birds in private households or a pet store.
Procedures—Gram-positive, catalase-positive cocci isolated from mucosal and seborrheic sites were speciated, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was performed on coagulase-positive isolates. A bird was classified as having positive results when at least 1 sample site yielded positive results for at least 1 staphylococcal species.
Results—89 of 180 (49.4%) birds had positive results for staphylococci at the carriage sites sampled. Privately owned birds were twice as likely to have positive results for staphylococci as were sanctuary birds (71% vs 35%). Coagulase-positive staphylococci were significantly more common in the sanctuary birds (47% vs 1%). Staphylococcus intermedius was significantly more common in the sanctuary birds (46% vs 2%). Staphylococcus hominis subsp hominis and Staphylococcus epidermidis, coagulase-negative staphylococci associated with humans, were significantly more common in pet birds. Cockatoos were twice as likely to have positive results for staphylococci as were other genera.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that staphylococcal colonization in captive psittacines was less common than in other species studied. Staphylococci isolated from a pet psittacine may reflect that of the humans and other animals with which the bird lives in close proximity; however, further studies are needed to evaluate the effects exposure to humans may have on the microflora of these birds.
Objective—To establish the maximum tolerated dose of Clostridium novyi–NT spores in tumor-bearing dogs and evaluate spore germination within tumors and tumor response.
Animals—6 client-owned dogs.
Procedures—A standard dose-escalation study was planned, with maximum tolerated dose defined as the highest dose at which 0 or 1 of 6 dogs had dose-limiting toxicoses (DLT). Dogs received 1 dose of C novyi–NT spores IV. Toxicoses were graded and interventions performed according to specific guidelines. Grade 3 or higher toxicosis or any toxicosis combination that substantially affected patient status was considered DLT. Clinical response was measured by use of response evaluation criteria in solid tumors at 28 days.
Results—The first 2 dogs had DLT. The dose was decreased. Two of the next 4 dogs had DLT; therefore, dose administration was stopped because the study endpoint had been reached. The most common toxicosis was fever (n = 6 dogs). Two dogs developed abscesses (1 within a nasal carcinoma and 1 splenic abscess) attributable to C novyi–NT infection; both required surgical intervention. Clostridium novyi–NT was cultured from 1 of 6 tumors. Five dogs were available for response assessment (4 had stable disease; 1 had progressive disease).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that C novyi–NT can germinate within tumors of dogs. Toxicosis, although common and sometimes severe, was manageable with treatment. Further studies in dogs with superficial tumors may allow for continued dose escalation and provide information for use in clinical trials in veterinary and human oncology.
Antibiograms are important tools for antimicrobial stewardship that are often underutilized in veterinary medicine. Antibiograms summarize cumulative antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) data for specific pathogens over a defined time period; in veterinary medicine, they are often stratified by host species and site of infection. They can aid practitioners with empiric therapy choices and assessment of antimicrobial resistance trends within a population in support of one-health goals for antimicrobial stewardship. For optimal application, consideration must be given to the number of isolates used, the timeframe of sample collection, laboratory analytical methodology, and the patient population contributing to the data (eg, treatment history, geographic region, and production type). There are several limitations to veterinary antibiograms, including a lack of breakpoint availability for bacterial species, a lack of standardization of laboratory methodology and technology for culture and AST, and a lack of funding to staff veterinary diagnostic laboratories at a level that supports antibiogram development and education. It is vital that veterinarians who use antibiograms understand how to apply them in practice and receive relevant information pertaining to the data to utilize the most appropriate antibiogram for their patients. This paper explores the benefits and challenges of developing and using veterinary antibiograms and proposes strategies to enhance their applicability and accuracy. Further detail regarding the application of veterinary antibiograms by privately practicing clinicians is addressed in the companion Currents in One Health article by Lorenz et al (JAVMA, September 2023).