Diseases / List of Bacterial Diseases / Disease description:

Staphylococcosis (with special reference to Waterfowl, Cranes, Hedgehogs, Bears and Lagomorphs)

MRSA in a rabbit. Click here for full page view with caption MRSA in a rabbit. Click here for full page view with caption

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL INFORMATION

CLINICAL CHARACTERISTICS & PATHOLOGY

INVESTIGATION & DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT & CONTROL

SUSCEPTIBILITY & TRANSMISSION

ENVIRONMENT & GEOGRAPHY

 

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General and References

Disease Summary

Bacterial infection which may be seen as a localized skin infection (e.g. Bumblefoot), arthritis, mastitis, synovitis or as a generalized, septicaemic infection.
In lagomorphs
  • Staphylococcosis is a significant disease of rabbits (Oryctolagus sp. and Sylvilagus spp.) and Lepus spp.; infection can result in severe disease that is sometimes fatal. (B209.28.w28k)

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Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Staphylococcus Infection
  • Infective arthritis
  • Staphylococcal septicaemia
  • Staphylococcal blood poisoning
  • Botryomycosis (in horses)
  • Tick pyaemia (in lambs)
  • Porcine necrotising staphylococcal endometritis (in pigs)

See also:

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Disease Type

 Bacterial Infection

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Infectious/Non-Infectious Agent associated with the Disease

  • Staphylococcus aureus is a gram-positive coccus .
    • This organism commonly inhabits the upper respiratory tract of many species including humans. (B614.8.w8)
    • "Most animal species, including rabbits, tend to carry unique biotypes of S. aureus that are distinct from those of other species. When an outbreak of staphylococcosis occurs, one biotype is generally responsible." (B614.8.w8)
    • In lagomorphs:
      • Staphylococcous aureus is the only Staphylococcus species that has been associated with disease in rabbits. (B614.8.w8)
      • Staphylococcus aureus can be found in the nares of healthy and unhealthy rabbits; it is probably a secondary pathogen in rabbits. (B602.17.w17)
    • In hedgehogs: Coagulase-positive Staphylococcus aureus is commonly associated with exudative dermatitis in hedgehogs. (B284.6.w6)
  • Staphylococcus pyogenes (J46.173.w1)

Infective "Taxa"

Non-infective agents

--

Physical agents

Indirect / Secondary

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References

Disease Author

Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5); Nikki Fox BVSc MRCVS (V.w103); Gracia Vila-Garcia DVM, MSc, MRCVS (V.w67)
Click image for main Reference Section

Referees

Anna Meredith MA VetMB CertLAS DZooMed (Mammalian) MRCVS (V.w128); Brigitte Reusch BVet Med (Hons) CertZooMed MRCVS (V.w127); Richard Saunders BVSc BSc CertZooMed MRCVS (V.w121)

Major References / Reviews

Code and Title List

B9.6.w1, B15, B16.19.w1, B18, B32.11.w27, B36.12.w12, B37.x.w1, B47
J1.28.w2
J2.12.w1
J6.23.w3

In Hedgehogs:
B284.6.w6
J9
.201.w1
J15.21.w1
J19.63.w1
J42.76.w1
P23.1999S.w8

In Bears:
B10
.48.w43, B16.9.w9, B64.26.w5
J1.36.w8

In Lagomorphs: 
B602.17.w17, B209.28.w28k, B614.8.w8
J3.114.w9, J514.1.w1

In Cranes:
B12.31.w6, B485.22.w22

Other References

Code and Title List

B39.w1
J1.11.w4, J1.12.w5
J3.70.w1
J6.10.w3, J6.24.w1
J14.29.w1
J36.41.w1

In Hedgehogs:
J190.31.w1

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Clinical Characteristics and Pathology

Detailed Clinical and Pathological Characteristics

General

Staphylococcus aureus is commonly found on the skin, nose and oropharynx of healthy animals. It may also be see causing:
  • Skin infections.
  • Mastitis in cattle, also in sheep, goats, mates, sows, cats and mink.
  • Tick pyaemia in lambs.ent synovitis in poultry.
  • Necrotising endometritis in pigs.
  • Botryomycosis in horses following castration, with infection of the stump of the spermatic cord and sometimes fatal generalised infection.
  • Exudative dermatitis and subcutaneous abscesses in rabbits.

(B47)

WATERFOWL Localized skin, foot or joint infection to generalized septicaemic disease. Acute suppurative to chronic granulomatous lesions, particularly involving the joints, heart, liver, spleen and lungs, also the brain.
CRANES
  • Skin disease, alone or secondary to/in conjunction with other diseases such as fungal infection or mite infection. (J15.21.w1, J19.63.w1)
HEDGEHOGS
  • Skin disease, alone or secondary to/in conjunction with other diseases such as fungal infection or mite infection. (J15.21.w1, J19.63.w1)
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS
  • Staphylococcosis can cause suppurative inflammation of any organ in rabbits but it is most commonly seen in the skin and subcutaneous tissues. (B614.8.w8, J3.114.w9)
  • Fatal septicaemia may occur. (B614.8.w8)
  • Pneumonia, lung abscesses or heart abscesses may occur with disseminated disease. (B602.17.w17)
  • Staphylococcal conjunctivitis is seen (J4.189.w15, J83.11.w2). See: Conjunctivitis in Lagomorphs

Clinical Characteristics

WATERFOWL Depends on site of infection. The following are presentations that have been recorded:
  • Acute, generalized severe infection: high temperature, ruffled feathers, wing droop, sometimes lameness and reluctance to walk, later depression, sometimes death.
  • Chronic joint infections (septic arthritis): lameness and swollen joints.
  • Bumblefoot: lameness, foot lesions (swelling, epithelial damage) (See also Bumblefoot).
  • Yolk sacculitis: - navel area damp, reddened (See also Omphalitis / Yolk Sacculitis)

(J2.12.w1, J6.23.w3, B32.11.w27).

CRANES For arthritis in birds, lameness, joint swelling. (B12.31.w6)
HEDGEHOGS
BEARS
  • Subacute septicaemias are characterised by:
    • Depression.
    • Fever.
    • Anorexia.

(B16.9.w9, B64.26.w5)

Clinical pathology: A left shift would be expected in the differential wbc count. (B16.9.w9, B64.26.w5)

LAGOMORPHS General: Listlessness and emaciation may be seen in affected animals, along with lameness if the tendons or joints are involved. In internal disease, clinical signs include lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. (B209.28.w28k)
  • Dermatitis:
    • Infected areas of skin are often encrusted with exudate. (B209.28.w28k)
    • Young rabbits (up to ten days in age): moist lesions on the medial aspect of the hind limbs and the ventral abdomen.
      • "Exudative dermatitis with small superficial pustules" in hairless kits. (J3.114.w9)
    • Older rabbits (two to four weeks of age): several small abscesses over the body and there may also be a purulent conjunctivitis. 
    • The infection can then progress to a fatal septicaemia with the liver and other organs becoming abscessated. 
    • In contact lactating does: a suppurative mastitis (Bacterial Mastitis in Rabbits) may develop and suckling rabbits can then die due to their dam developing agalactia. 

      (B606.4.w4, J3.114.w9)

  • Abscessation:
    • Subcutaneous abscesses; may be widespread in disseminated staphylococcosis. (B209.28.w28k; B614.8.w8, J514.1.w1)
    • The abscesses may be seen externally as swellings and some of them may have draining tracts (crusting of the hair may be visible). (B209.28.w28k)
    • Interdigital abscesses and localised abscesses of the mammary gland have also been reported. (B614.8.w8)
    • Multiple subcutaneous abscesses of varying sizes in Lepus europaeus - Brown hare.(J514.1.w1)
  • Pododermatitis. (B614.8.w8, J3.114.w9)
  • Mastitis:
    • Superficial mastitis with exudation and suppurative inflammation around the teats. (J3.114.w9)
    • Disseminated, gangrenous mastitis. (B614.8.w8)
  • Septic Arthritis in Lagomorphs (Bacterial Disease Summary)Arthritis. (J514.1.w1)
  • Septicaemia:
    • Disseminated disease due to staphylococcosis has been reported in both adult and young rabbits:
      • Subcutaneous abscesses, visceral abscesses, and also rhinitis, fibrinous pneumonia, and conjunctivitis were reported in adult rabbits with disseminated disease. (B614.8.w8)
      • Otitis media has also been reported. (B614.8.w8)
      • Milk from a doe with mastitis can transmit Staphylococcus aureus to the nurslings resulting in septicaemia and death. (B614.8.w8)
      • Disseminated disease has been reported in three to five day old rabbits. Widespread subcutaneous abscesses as well as abscesses in the heart and lungs. (B614.8.w8)
    • Death. (J514.1.w1)
  • A pustular dermatitis of young rabbits can occur due to Staphylococcus aureus. The condition is usually associated with poor environmental conditions.
  • Clinical signs: 

 

Incubation

WATERFOWL Short in acute disease: 48-72 hours from experimental intravenous inoculation in chickens to disease.
CRANES --
HEDGEHOGS --
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS --

Mortality / Morbidity

WATERFOWL
  • Usually low (B32.11.w27). 
  • Staphylococcosis was diagnosed in 6.26% of 642 waterfowl necropsied at the Kortright Waterfowl Park (J14.29.w1) and 1.7% of 2450 waterfowl at the National Zoological Park, Washington D.C. (J6.23.w3).
CRANES --
HEDGEHOGS
  • Infection or carriage of Staphylococcus aureus appears to be common, including in healthy animals without skin lesions. (J19.63.w1)
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS
  • Staphylococcosis is commonly seen in rabbits. (B614.8.w8)
  • Staphylococcosis is a significant disease of rabbits (Oryctolagus sp. and Sylvilagus spp.) and Lepus spp., that can result in severe and sometimes fatal, disease. (B209.28.w28k)

Pathology

WATERFOWL Generalized infection: heart, spleen, liver, kidneys, brain, lungs may be affected most often. necrosis and vascular congestion are commonly seen. Acute necrosis and vascular congestion to chronic granulomas with giant cells. Gram-positive cocci may be seen in association with lesions. In joint involvement, arthritis, synovitis and periarthritis may occur.

Gross Pathology:

  • Heart - pale areas may be visible in the myocardium, vegetative growths on valves, particularly left atrio-ventricular valve, occasionally pericarditis (serofibrinous to suppurative) with effusion and haemorrhages.
  • Liver - enlarged, mottled, friable; sometimes necrotic, suppurative or granulomatous foci.
  • Spleen - enlarged, globular, congested; may be pale foci.
  • Kidneys - usually no gross changes; may be enlarged, pale and firm due to associated amyloidosis.
  • Lungs - congested, oedematous, rarely visible caseous nodules.
  • Gastro-intestinal tract - mild to necro-purulent or granulomatous enteritis (rarely).
  • Yolk sacculitis - navel area damp, reddened. Yolk sac enlarged and contents abnormal in colour and consistency. Sometimes associated peritonitis (see: Yolk sacculitis).
  • Joints/skeletal - Particularly toe and hock joints. Thickened joint, reduced range of movement, swollen tendon sheaths, yellowish purulent to caseous exudate in joint, sometimes fibrosis around the joint. Sometimes obvious bone lesions - osteomyelitis, with yellow caseous foci or lytic areas.
  • Bumblefoot - plantar surface epithelial damage, and abscessation.
    Muscle - occasionally pale friable areas, most frequently in pectoral muscles.
  • Skin - plantar abscess (See also Bumblefoot). Dark moist areas and crepitation if gangrenous dermatitis.

Histopathology:

  • Heart - mild septic to granulomatous or necrotic myocarditis, fibrinous endocarditis to vegetative valvular thrombo-endocarditis, serofibrinous to suppurative pericarditis.
  • Liver - congestion, hepatocellular degeneration and necrosis, Kupffer cell hyperplasia. Colonies of gram-positive cocci may be visible within granulomatous or suppurative areas of tissue.
  • Spleen - congestion, lymphoid depletion, plasmacytosis, presence of Mott cells; multiple necrotic lesions of the parenchyma with severe involvement; sometimes granulomas with giant cells and colonies of cocci.
  • Kidneys - congestion, embolic nephritis, interstitial infiltrate of lymphocytes and plasma cells, acute perivasculitis, septic glomerulonephritis, granulomatous foci with giant cells; sometimes intravascular colonies of cocci.
  • Lungs - mild infiltration with heterophils (acute inflammation) to severe suppuration or granulomas, frequently with microthrombi, sometimes with colonies of cocci.
  • Air sacs - occasionally mild subacute airsacculitis.
  • Gastro-intestinal tract - mild non-suppurative to necro-purulent enteritis; may be multiple septic thrombi containing cocci.
  • Central nervous system - mild perivascular to severe suppurative or granulomatous encephalitis, sometimes with associated meningitis.
  • Muscle - mild to extensive suppurative to granulomatous myocarditis; infarcts with bacteria growing around the margins; lesions occur most frequently in pectoral muscles.
  • Joints/skeletal - Necrosis, with colonies of gram-positive cocci and heterophils. May be microscopic osteomyelitis (bone involvement) even if no gross bone lesions.
  • Bumblefoot - Chronic proliferative necrotic inflammation with heterophil and macrophage infiltration, perivascular lymphocytic cuffing and gram-positive cocci. (See also Bumblefoot)

Amyloidosis may also be seen secondary to chronic infection (B39.w1).

(J1.28.w2, J2.12.w1, J6.23.w3, B9.6.w1, B15, B18, B32.11.w27).

CRANES
HEDGEHOGS --
BEARS In a nine-year-old free-living male Ursus americanus - American black bear from Labrador, Canada: (J1.36.w8)

Gross pathology:

  • General: good body condition - normal muscle mass and abundant fat. 
  • Abdominal cavity: about one litre of blood was present. 
  • GIT: little ingesta present
  • Renal: 
    • Increased size of the left perirenal area (three times that of the right) due to retroperitoneal haemorrhage.
    • Attached to the kidney capsule, clotted blood.
    • Within the renal parenchyma (left kidney), haemorrhage.
    • Right kidney, cranial pole haemorrhagic.
  • Cardiac: 
    • On the left and right semilunar valves, small (1.0 - 1.5 by 1.5-3.0 cm) irregular friable masses, consistent with fibrin deposits, attached to their free edges.
    • Beneath the dorsal valvula, a small roughened area of endocardium.

(J1.36.w8)

Histopathology:

  • Cardiac: On the aortic valve, abundant fibrin. Near the edges of the semilunar valve, the normal architecture was destroyed. In the fibrin, inflammatory cells, mainly neutrophils, degenerate and necrotic, together with many small colonies of Gram-positive cocci. In the underlying tissue and adjacent endocardium, infiltration with moderate numbers of neutrophils and macrophages.
  • Renal: Areas of infarction, locally extensive, in which were large colonies of Gram-positive cocci with surrounding neutrophils in a thick zone. In many glomeruli, infiltration of the uriniferous spaces by neutrophils in large numbers , and occlusion of glomerular tufts by multiple fibrin thrombi. At the corticomedullary junction, partial occlusion of some vessels by fibrin thrombi, and partial to complete fibrinoid necrosis of the vessel walls. 
  • CNS: In perivascular spaces around small blood vessels, and scattered through the neuropil of the brain, small aggregates of neutrophils and macrophages. In a few of the vessels, fibrin thrombi.
  • Adrenals: In the cortex, large colonies of Gram-positive cocci but no associated inflammatory reaction (indicating they resulted from terminal septicaemia).

(J1.36.w8)

LAGOMORPHS Suppurative inflammation is characteristic of staphylococcosis (but is also seen in infections caused by other pyogenic bacteria, including Pasteurella multocida). The most common areas affected are:
  • skin
  • subcutis
  • mammary gland
  • respiratory system.

(B614.8.w8)

However, suppurative inflammation may be seen in any internal organ if septicaemia has occurred. (B614.8.w8)

  • In acute lesions: diffuse infiltrate of neutrophils along with oedema, haemorrhage, and fibrin deposition. (B614.8.w8) Lesions that may be seen include:
    • Splenomegaly without abscesses 
    • Encephalitis
    • Valvular endocarditis 
    • Peritonitis 
    • Metritis 
    • Mastitis
    • (B209.28.w28k)
  • In subacute or chronic lesions: the inflammation is more localised resulting in the development of abscesses. These abscesses contain a creamy and viscous exudate that is mainly made up of neutrophils and necrotic cell debris. In chronic cases there may be a fibrous capsule surrounding the abscess. (B614.8.w8)
    • Visceral organs that may be affected by abscessation include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen and muscle. (B209.28.w28k)
    • There may be enlargement of superficial lymph nodes (cervical, mandibular, axillary, and inguinal) that contain caseous or purulent exudate. (B209.28.w28k)
  • In botryomycosis:  foci of granulomatous or pyogranulomatous inflammation in the dermis or at other sites; giant cells may be visible. (B209.28.w28k)

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Human Health Considerations

Zoonosis.
  • Transmission from infected birds to humans may cause wound infections or food poisoning; transmission may also occur from humans to birds. General good hygiene procedures, including wearing gloves when handling carcasses, should be used (B36.12.w12).
  • Transmission may occur from hedgehogs, e.g. following skin punctures from spines. (P23.1999S.w8)
  • "The potential for transmission between humans and rabbits is suggested by studies that identified the same biotype in infected animals and apparently healthy personnel". (B614.8.w8)

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Susceptibility / Transmission

General information on Susceptibility / Transmission

WATERFOWL Susceptibility:
  • All birds are susceptible to staphylococcal infections, although Anatidae are not considered particularly susceptible to staphylococcosis and the organism is generally a secondary invader.
  • Infection is usually associated with a break in the skin or mucous membranes allowing entry of the bacteria, and/or with decreased host resistance (compromised immune system) due to nutritional factors including general malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency (Vitamin A Deficiency in Waterfowl), concurrent disease etc..
  • Staphylococcal foot infections and arthritis are frequently associated with prolonged contact with rough hard surfaces such as cement or concrete or wire floors. The umbilicus provides a portal for entry in neonates. Infection may also follow minor surgery. A greater incidence in male waterfowl may be related to skin trauma while fighting.

Transmission:

  • Staphylococcus spp. are a normal part of the flora of the skin and mucous membranes.

(J1.28.w2, J6.23.w3, B9.6.w1, B15, B18, B36.12.w12, B37.x.w1).

CRANES Susceptibility:
  • In general, bacterial diseases are seen in cranes which are predisposed to infection due to population or environmental stressors. (B336.20.w20)
  • Four cases of staphylococcal valvular endocarditis in Lilford's cranes (Grus grus - Common crane) all occurred post-operatively. (B485.22.w22)
HEDGEHOGS Susceptibility:
  • Dermatophyte infection of the skin provides an ideal environment for colonisation and rapid growth of Staphylococcus aureus. (J19.63.w1)
  • Caparinia mange mite infection Caparinia Mange in Hedgehogs) may, by damaging the skin surface, encourage establishment of infection. (J19.63.w1)

Transmission:

  • Caparinia mange mites may transmit Staphylococcus aureus between hedgehogs. (J19.63.w1)
LAGOMORPHS Susceptibility:
  • Host resistance and bacterial virulence govern the severity of disease. (B602.17.w17, B614.8.w8)
  • As a species, rabbits are reported as being unusually susceptible to systemic infection due to Staphylococcus aureus. This susceptibility is increased if the individual animal is stressed. (B614.8.w8)

Transmission:

  • Staphylococcus aureus is part of the normal resident flora of the skin, nasopharynx, and conjunctiva of healthy rabbits. (B614.8.w8)
  • Via wounds: Disease due to this organism may occur when there is an appropriate portal of entry, e.g. skin wound. (B614.8.w8)
    • Bites from arthropods (B209.28.w28k)
    • Wounds from fighting (B209.28.w28k)
  • Via milk: Milk from a doe with mastitis can transmit Staphylococcus aureus to the nurslings resulting in septicaemia and death. (B614.8.w8)
  • Interspecies transmission: Distinct biotypes of Staphylococcus aureus predominate in different animal species but it is possible for interspecies transmission to occur. Isolates from dogs, cattle and humans can infect rabbits under experimental conditions. (B614.8.w8)

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Disease has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in:

Waterfowl:
  • Bewick's swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii and Coscoroba swan Coscoroba coscoroba (B9.6.w1).
  • Wild mute swan Cygnus olor in Scotland, UK with bumblefoot (J36.41.w1).
  • Wild Tundra swan Cygnus columbianus with lead poisoning (J1.11.w4).
  • Wild mallard Anas platyrhynchos in winter in Canada, in association with poor nutritional status and vitamin A deficiency (J1.28.w2).
  • Domestic ducks with bumblefoot (J2.12.w1).
  • Captive blue-winged teal Anas discors in the UK (J3.70.w1).
  • Captive, wild-trapped canvasback ducks Aythya valisineria associated with stress and malnutrition (J1.12.w5).
  • Domestic ducks with arthritis (J6.10.w3).
  • Domestic ducks with salpingitis (J6.24.w1).
  • Waterfowl at Kortright Waterfowl Park, Ontario, Canada (J14.29.w1).
  • American green-winged (common) teal Anas crecca carolinensis, Bahama (white-cheeked) pintail Anas bahamensis bahamensis, brown pintail Anas georgica spinicauda, black swan Cygnus atratus, blue-winged teal Anas discors, common (Northern) pintail Anas acuta, common shelduck Tadorna tadorna, common (northern) shoveler Anas clypeata, canvasback Aythya valisineria, chestnut teal Anas castanea, Eurasian wigeon Anas penelope, Indian spot-billed duck Anas poecilorhyncha poecilorhyncha, mandarin duck Aix galericulata, mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Moluccan radjah shelduck Tadorna radjah radjah, mute swan Cygnus olor, North American black duck Anas rubripes, North American ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis jamaicensis, red-breasted goose Branta ruficollis, redhead Aythya americana, ringed teal Callonetta leucophrys, rosybill Netta peposaca, South African yellow-billed duck Anas undulata undulata, white-winged wood duck Cairina scutulata at the National Zoological Park, Washington D.C., USA (J6.23.w3).
Cranes:
Hedgehogs:
  • 23/58 (40%) hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog) in New Zealand, from nasal swabs. (J42.76.w1)
  • Coagulase positive Staphylococci were isolated from the paws of 63% of 35 Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog) in New Zealand and from the ventral skin of 71%. Almost pure cultures and heavy growth were obtained from areas with Trichophyton mentagrophytes var. erinacei dermatophyte infection. Many cultures were penicillin-resistant. (J9.201.w1)
  • Coagulase positive Staphylococci were isolated from 23/58 (40%) of nasal swabs, 38/56 (68%) of skin swabs, 36/37 (63%) of paws and 6/11 (55) of anal swabs. Infection was equally common in "young (less than 500g body weight) and "old" (greater than 500g bodyweight) animals and was found in 12/12 "very scabby" animals, 11/14 "slightly scabby" animals and 10/17 "normal" animals. Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog) in New Zealand. 86.3% of 107 strains tested were found to be penicillin-resistant. (J19.63.w1)
  • Staphylococcus pyogenes infection together with Caparinia sp. (? tripilis) mites in a hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus from a collection in the UK, with "mange-like lesions and skin ulceration." (J46.173.w1)
  • Thirty one strains of novobiocin-resistant coagulase-negative strains of Staphylococcus were isolated from the skins of hedgehogs, 13 were considered to resemble Staphylococcus xylosus and 10 to resemble Staphylococcus sciuri; the remaining eight did not resemble previously-described species. (J190.31.w1)
Bears:
Lagomorphs:

Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Host species with further information available are listed below:

Host Species List

BIRDS:

MAMMALS:

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

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Disease has been specifically reported in Free-ranging populations of:

Waterfowl:
  • Wild mute swan Cygnus olor in Scotland, UK with bumblefoot (J36.41.w1).
  • Wild Tundra swan Cygnus columbianus with lead poisoning (J1.11.w4).
  • Wild mallard Anas platyrhynchos in winter in Canada, in association with poor nutritional status and vitamin A deficiency (J1.28.w2).
Hedgehogs:
  • 23/58 (40%) hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog) in New Zealand, from nasal swabs. (J42.76.w1)
  • Coagulase positive Staphylococci were isolated from the paws of 63% of 35 Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog) in New Zealand and from the ventral skin of 71%. Almost pure cultures and heavy growth were obtained from areas with Trichophyton mentagrophytes var. erinacei dermatophyte infection. Many cultures were penicillin-resistant. (J9.201.w1)
  • Coagulase positive Staphylococci were isolated from 23/58 (40%) of nasal swabs, 38/56 (68%) of skin swabs, 36/37 (63%) of paws and 6/11 (55) of anal swabs. Infection was equally common in "young (less than 500g body weight) and "old" (greater than 500g bodyweight) animals and was found in 12/12 "very scabby" animals, 11/14 "slightly scabby" animals and 10/17 "normal" animals. Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog) in New Zealand. 86.3% of 107 strains tested were found to be penicillin-resistant. (J19.63.w1)
Lagomorphs:
  • Staphylococcosis is a significant disease of rabbits (Oryctolagus sp. and Sylvilagus spp.) and Lepus spp.. Infection can result in severe disease that is sometimes fatal. (B209.28.w28k)
  • Staphylococcosis causes subcutaneous abscesses (particularly associated with fight wounds), joint abscesses, internal abscesses and occasionally acute septicaemia in Lepus europaeus - Brown hare. (J514.1.w1)

Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Host species with further information available are listed below:

Host Species List

BIRDS:

MAMMALS:

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

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Environment/Geography

General Information on Environmental Factors/Events and Seasonality

  • Incidence was higher in winter (possibly related to cold-stress) and the breeding season (probably related to fighting) at the National Zoological Park, Washington (J6.23.w3).
  • Appears to be more common in captive than in free-living waterfowl (J1.28.w2, J6.23.w3, B36.12.w12).
  • In Lepus europaeus - Brown hare, particularly seen around the time of territorial fights, with fight wounds allowing entry of the bacteria to deeper tissues. (J514.1.w1)

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded

Worldwide (B32.11.w27).
  • In hedgehogs: In New Zealand and UK. (J15.21.w1, J9.201.w1, J19.63.w1, J42.76.w1)

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded in Free-ranging populations

  • In waterfowl: UK, North America (J1.11.w4, J1.28.w2, J36.41.w1).
  • In hedgehogs: In New Zealand and UK. (J15.21.w1, J9.201.w1, J19.63.w1, J42.76.w1)

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General Investigation / Diagnosis

General Information on Investigation / Diagnosis

WATERFOWL
  • Presumptive diagnosis by detection of typical gram-positive cocci in a stained smear of exudate from lesions (B15, B16.19.w1).
  • Definitive diagnosis by culture of the organism from exudate or blood or from stab-swab of affected organ (B15, B16.19.w1, B32.11.w27, B37.x.w1).

N.B. diagnosis of the primary insult allowing infection is important (B15, B37.x.w1).

HEDGEHOGS
  • Diagnosis by culture. (J9.201.w1, J19.63.w1, J42.76.w1)
BEARS
  • Clinical signs, left shift in the differential white blood cell count, positive blood culture. (B16.9.w9, B64.26.w5)
  • In a nine-year-old free-living male Ursus americanus - American black bear from Labrador, Canada, isolation of large numbers of coagulase-positive Staphylococus aureus from the aortic valve and kidneys, with smaller numbers from the lungs. (J1.36.w8)
LAGOMORPHS
  • Identification of organisms: 
    • Smears of exudate from the lesions, or tissue sections of suppurative lesions, may reveal large gram-positive cocci that are arranged in clusters. (B209.28.w28k)
  • Culture:
    • This is essential for differentiation of this disease from pasteurellosis. (B614.8.w8)
    • The organisms are reported to grow well on a 5% blood agar media. (B209.28.w28k)
  • See: Clinical Pathology of Lagomorphs
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Similar Diseases (Differential Diagnosis)

WATERFOWL Colibacillosis (Colibacillosis), Pasteurella multocida infection (Avian Cholera), Salmonella gallinarum infection (Fowl Typhoid), Mycoplasma synoviae infection (Mycoplasma Infection), reovirus infection (Reovirus Infection). Other causes of joint infections, septicaemia (B32.11.w27).
HEDGEHOGS
  • Skin lesions may result from dermatophycosis and/or mange mite infection, with or without concurrent Staphylococcus aureus infection. (J15.21.w1, J19.63.w1)
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS

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Treatment and Control

Specific Medical Treatment

  • Antibiotic treatment should be based on culture and sensitivity. (B47)
WATERFOWL
  • Antibiotics according to culture and sensitivity results. DMSO may be used mixed with topical antibiotic for bumblefoot (Bumblefoot (with special reference to Waterfowl)). N.B. Sensitivity testing is important as resistance is common. (B9.6.w1, B16.19.w1, B32.11.w27, B37.x.w1)
  • Joint infections are difficult to treat as antibiotics may not reach diseased joints in sufficient quantities; may need 2 weeks treatment (B18).
  • Use of a toxoided form of Staphylococcus aureus alpha toxin was reported to be useful in staphylococcal bumblefoot (J1.12.w1).
  • Low-dose levamisole as an immunostimulant may be a useful adjunct to treatment (J1.12.w1).
  • Live, avirulent vaccines may be of use on the basis of bacterial interference (B32.11.w27).
HEDGEHOGS
BEARS
LAGOMORPHS Antibiotics preferably are selected on the basis of culture and sensitivity. (B614.8.w8)
  • In the absence of culture and sensitivity data, Chloramphenicol, Enrofloxacin or Trimethoprim-Sulphonamide combinations are recommended. [2004] (B602.17.w17)
  • Fluroquinolones show good activity against staphylococci. Enrofloxacin at 20 mg/kg once daily is suggested, since this is a concentration-dependent antibiotic. (V.w127)
  • Previous recommendations include:
    • Penicillin: the drug of choice for penicillin-sensitive organisms. [1994](B614.8.w8)
      • NOTE: Fatal antibiotic-associated enterotoxaemia can occur, sometimes even with a single dose of penicillin given subcutaneously. (V.w127)
    • Cephalosporins [1994](B614.8.w8)
    • Aminoglycosides [1994](B614.8.w8)
    • Chloramphenicol [1994](B614.8.w8)
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General Nursing and Surgical Techniques

WATERFOWL
HEDGEHOGS --
LAGOMORPHS  
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Preventative Measures

Vaccination WATERFOWL Live, avirulent vaccines may be of use on the basis of bacterial interference and a vaccine based on Staphylococcus epidermidis has been developed for use in turkeys and also used in chickens (B32.11.w27).
HEDGEHOGS --
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS There have been various attempts of immunising rabbits against this disease using either purified toxins or killed bacteria; however, most of the attempts have reportedly been unsuccessful. (B614.8.w8)
Prophylactic Treatment

WATERFOWL

--
HEDGEHOGS --
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS --
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Environmental and Population Control Measures

General Environment Changes, Cleaning and Disinfection

WATERFOWL

Avoid surfaces leading to skin abrasions. General good husbandry and hatchery hygiene (B32.11.w27).
HEDGEHOGS --
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS --
Population Control Measures WATERFOWL --
HEDGEHOGS --
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS --
Isolation, Quarantine and Screening WATERFOWL --
HEDGEHOGS --
BEARS --
LAGOMORPHS --
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