00680-A: Screening of Healthy Dogs and Dogs with Chronic Allergic Dermatitis for Colonization of the Skin by Methicillin-Resistant Strains of Staphylococci

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $11,908
Daniel O. Morris, DVM; University of Pennsylvania
February 1, 2006 - January 31, 2007


Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Dermatology and Allergic Disease
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Bacterial skin infection (pyoderma) is the most common skin disease occurring in dogs. Greater than 90 percent of pyoderma in dogs is caused by Staphylococcus spp. bacteria, and canine skin is more susceptible to staphylococcal infections than the skin of human beings or any other domestic species. In dogs with allergic skin diseases (which may represent up to 15 percent of the total canine population), staphylococcal skin and ear canal infections are especially common. Breeds with the greatest relative risk (propensity to develop allergic skin disease) include Golden and Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English, Irish and Gordon Setters, Boxers, Miniature Schnauzers, Dalmatians, Lhasa Apsos, Shiba Inus, Chinese Shar-Pei, and many terrier breeds (Scotties, Westies, Cairns, Yorkies, and Wirehaired Fox Terriers among others). Historically, successful treatment of staphylococcal infections with oral and/or topical antibiotics have been achieved, however the evolution of multi-drug resistant strains of staphylococci has resulted in less predictable outcomes for a large portion of affected patients. The healthy skin of dogs is naturally colonized by S. intermedius, but S. aureus and S. schleiferi are thought to be only transient inhabitants of canine skin that are usually associated with overt infections. However, in light of the increased frequency of isolation of methicillin-resistant S. aureus and S. schleiferi from canine infections, it is possible that the status of resident bacterial colonization of dogs has changed. We propose to screen healthy dogs with normal skin, and dogs with chronic allergic dermatitis, for methicillin-resistant strains of these three species of staphylococci. This epidemiological survey will serve to educate veterinarians and the dog-owning public of the current status of canine staphylococcal carriage, explore its implications for canine and public health, and fulfill the need for a more scientific approach to the diagnosis and treatment of canine pyoderma.


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