Staphylococcus spp. inhabiting backyard rabbits

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Year of publication 2013
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description A group of 64 staphylococcal strains collected from clinically healthy backyard rabbits was investigated in order to elucidate the taxonomic structure of Staphylococcus spp. inhabiting these animals. Analysed strains were isolated from nose (30 strains), ear (24), anal (6), and throat (4) swab samples obtained from 16 weaned or adult rabbits kept in hutches by a small breeder in Spišská Nová Ves (Slovakia). Isolated strains were characterized using basic genus-specific conventional tests and further identified using a combination of biotyping, rep-PCR fingerprinting with the (GTG)5 primer and MALDI TOF mass spectrometry. Final identification of two strains was further confirmed using rpoB gene sequencing. All but two rep-PCR fingerprints clearly matched reference database entries and assigned 36 strains as Staphylococcus vitulinus, 20 as Staphylococcus xylosus, four as Staphylococcus succinus and remaining strains as single representatives of Staphylococcus sciuri, Staphylococcus equorum and Staphylococcus haemolyticus. Only one strain (S. xylosus) was not identified using this method. In contrast, MALDI TOF mass spectrometry failed to identify 22 S. vitulinus, 6 S. xylosus, 3 S. succinus and a S. haemolyticus strain. Biotyping results assigned correctly only 20 S. xylosus isolates; remaining strains were not identified or were identified erroneously. Individual animals were inhabited by one to three staphylococcal species. All four S. succinus strains were isolated only from nose samples; however no clear correlation between the species composition and the body part swabbed was found. Obtained results showed that S. vitulinus and S. xylosus species are common inhabitants of healthy rabbits and confirmed rep-PCR with (GTG)5 primer as a good tool for identification of Staphylococcus spp. This study was supported by project CEB (CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0183).
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