Uropathogenic virulence factors in isolates of Escherichia coli from clinical cases of canine pyometra and feces of healthy bitches.

Department of Veterinary Science, The University of Melbourne, 250 Princes Highway, Werribee 3030, Vic, Australia.
Veterinary Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.13). 06/2003; 94(1):57-69. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-1135(03)00063-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Escherichia coli is commonly isolated in canine pyometra, but little is known of the virulence factors that may be involved in the precipitation of this disease. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of uropathogenic virulence factor (UVF) genes in E. coli isolates from canine pyometra and from feces of healthy bitches to evaluate their role in the pathogenesis of pyometra. E. coli from 23 cases of canine pyometra and from the feces of 24 healthy bitches were analyzed, by polymerase chain reaction, for UVF genes associated with canine and human urinary tract infections (UTIs). The prevalences of UVFs in E. coli from canine pyometra were similar to that in canine and human uropathogenic E. coli. The prevalence of pap was greater (P=0.036) for E. coli from pyometra (52%) than for fecal isolates (21%), and the papGIII allele was present in all pap-containing isolates. The prevalences of genes for alpha-haemolysin and cytotoxic necrotising factor 1 were not significantly higher (P=0.075) in E. coli from pyometra than from feces. The proportion of pyometra strains with >or=3 UVFs was higher (P=0.039) than that of fecal strains, suggesting that possession of >or=3 UVF genes enhances the pathogenicity of the strain. Our findings demonstrate that E. coli associated with canine pyometra are similar to uropathogenic strains, and that operons that encode P fimbriae, alpha-haemolysin and cytotoxic necrotising factor 1 probably enhance the virulence and pathogenicity of the strain in the canine genital tract.