Proteus Infection in Waterfowl and Hedgehogs

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Bacterial Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names --
Disease Agents Proteus vulgaris, Proteus spp. (swarming) (B32.14.w21).
Infectious Agent(s)
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) Indirect / Secondary
General Description Associated with diarrhoea in young animals, otitis externa (Proteus mirabilis) in dogs, urinary tract infections in spayed bitches. (B47)

In Waterfowl:

In Hedgehogs:

  • Proteus infection may cause diarrhoea: (D66, B284.6.w6)
    • Faeces pale green and stringy/sticky/sloppy;
    • Dehydration.


Further Information
  • Proteus spp. are widely distributed in nature and commonly found in low numbers in animal faeces (particularly pigs and dogs). Their numbers are most likely to rise if the normal intestinal flora is disturbed. (B47)
  • Oiled birds (see Oiling) may develop either localised or generalised Proteus infection. (P4.1990.w1)
  • Antimicrobial sensitivity notes: Proteus mirabilis is usually sensitive to ampicillin, cephalosporins, chloramphenicol, kanamycin, penicillins and streptomycin but Proteus vulgaris is often resistant to both penicillins and cephalosporins. Many strains of these organisms carry plasmid-encoded resistance to other antibiotics such as tetracycline and both species are naturally resistant to bacitracin, colistin and polymyxin B. Testing for antibiotic sensitivity is recommended. (B47)

In Waterfowl:

  • Lesions of arthritis (caused by various pathogens, including two cases of Proteus vulgaris) in ducks were described as enlarged joint, periarticular tissue inflammation, cloudy, fibrino-purulent and sometimes sanguineous joint exudate or dryish yellow-grey exudate, degeneration and necrosis of articular surfaces and variable extension to involve subchondral bone. (J6.10.w3)
  • Proteus isolated from "sick ducklings" failed to cause disease on inoculation. (B32.14.w21)

In Hedgehogs:

Techniques linked to this disease
WaterfowlINDEXDisInvTrCntr.gif (2325 bytes)
Host taxa groups /species
Disease has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in the following species:
  • Swarming Proteus recovered from ducks with salpingitis noted at slaughter in Denmark (J6.24.w1).
  • Proteus vulgaris recovered from two cases of arthritis in ducks in Denmark (J6.10.w3).
  • Proteus isolated from "sick ducklings" (B32.14.w21).

In hedgehogs:

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this infectious agent)

Disease has been reported in free-ranging populations of the following WATERFOWL Species: --

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