Isolation and identification of Helicobacter spp, from canine and feline gastric mucosa

K. Jalava, Stephen L.W. On, P.A.R. VanDamme, I. Happonen, A. Sukura, M.L. Hanninen

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    It is known that virtually all healthy adult dogs and cats harbor spiral helicobacters in their gastric mucosa, Three species, Helicobacter felis, Helicobacter bizzozeronii, and Helicobacter salomonis have been isolated in vitro from the gastric mucosa of these animals. The aims of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of an isolation method for canine and feline gastric helicobacters that has been developed at the University of Helsinki; to estimate the prevalence and distribution of these taxa in the samples examined; and to assess the efficacy and validity of an extensive set of standardized conventional phenotypic tests, whole-cell protein profiling, and ultrastructural analysis in identifying the different species isolated from canine and feline gastric mucose. We cultured 95 and 22 gastric mucosal biopsies from dogs and cats, respectively. Twenty-one H. bizzozeronii strains, 8 H. felis strains, 8 H. salomonis strains, 3 mixed cultures, 2 "Flexispira rappini"-like organisms, and 3 as get uncharacterized strains were isolated from the dogs, and 3 H. felis strains were isolated from the cats. The methods used here yielded Helicobacter isolation rates of 51% from dogs and 13.6% from cats, which exceed those reported previously. The main difficulties were primary isolation, mixed cultures, and identification to the species level, In the species identification, a detailed morphological examination was found to yield important phenotypic characteristics. A large panel of biochemical and tolerance tests did not clearly differentiate the closely related species H. bizzozeronii, H. felis, and H. salomonis. Highly standardized whole cell protein profiling was shown to be an excellent method for species identification. Improvements in culture conditions for these bacteria are still needed, especially for cats. A genetic identification method not requiring culture is needed for future studies of these very fastidious helicobacters, as the clinical significance and ecology of these species within the gastric mucosa of the domestic carnivores remain largely unknown.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number10
    Pages (from-to)3998-4006
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

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