Enteropathogens in pups from pet shops and breeding facilities

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To evaluate faecal and clinical scores and presence of several enteropathogens possibly implicated in the development of diarrhoea in pups aged between 6 and 16 weeks independently of their health status.


Pups were selected from pet shops and breeding facilities and assigned a faecal and clinical score. Standard isolation methods were used to determine presence of parasites, viruses and bacteria in faecal samples. ForEscherichia coli, virulence genes were assessed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction.


Fifty-six pups were included in this study. Eighteen had no diarrhoea, 22 had no significant clinical signs related to gastroenteritis. Samples were positive forToxocara canis(n=29),Giardia duodenalis(n=35),Cystoisospora(n=22),E. coli(n=47) andClostridium perfringens(n=20). In fourE. colipositive samples, genes were detected that correlate with pathogenicity in other animal species. A significant positive correlation between the presence ofT. canisand faecal score was found.

Clinical Significance

Puppies obtained from a pet shop or breeding facility have a high risk of gastrointestinal disease. Furthermore, infectious agents may be present independently of faecal or clinical score. The identification of possible pathogenicE. colistrains suggests that their role in diarrhoea warrant further investigation.

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