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W09-022: Prevalence, identity, and antimicrobial susceptibility of enteroadherent Enterococcus spp. infection in kittens with and without diarrhea – A new pathogen?

Kitten diarrhea is a frustrating problem for which few causes, and therefore few treatments, have been identified. Although the intestinal tract is well populated by many healthy bacteria, certain strains can adhere to the lining of the intestine and are strongly associated with diarrhea. The investigators have identified five unrelated kittens aged 3-10 weeks with massive numbers of Gram-positive bacteria adhering to the lining of the intestine. Each kitten had died in a shelter or foster care facility. The bacteria were identified as Enterococcus. These bacteria could not be demonstrated in five age-matched kittens euthanized or dying for reasons unrelated to diarrhea. It is suspected that these Enterococcus bacteria are a potentially significant cause or complicating factor for diarrhea in weaning-age kittens. In this study, the investigators aim to determine 1) whether Enterococcus infection is more common in kittens with diarrhea compared with age-matched controls, 2) what specific strain of Enterococcus is responsible for these infections, and 3) what kind of antibiotics are effective against the bacteria. The relevance of this study is its potential to identify a new bacterial culprit that may cause or significantly contribute to diarrhea, death and euthanasia of weaning-age kittens in shelter or animal control facilities.

Grant ID: W09-022

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2009

Amount awarded: $14,918

Investigator: Jody L. Gookin, DVM, PhD; North Carolina State University