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In vitro antimicrobial resistance and oral/nail bed microbiota of cats diagnosed by next-generation sequencing and mass spectrometry

Grant number: 20/09162-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): November 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Principal Investigator:Marcio Garcia Ribeiro
Grantee:Fábio Vinícius Ramos Portilho
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


In the past decades, the closer relationships between cats and humans have significantly increased the risk of transmission of pathogens, including by bite and/or scratch. As with dogs, the main approaches taken in cases of aggression by cats involve anti-rabies and anti-tetanus prophylaxis. However, there is a great complexity of microorganisms of bacterial and fungal origin inhabiting the oral cavity and nail bed of healthy cats, which deserve attention for their zoonotic potential. Studies conducted in the isolation of microorganisms in the oral cavity of cats, with the potential of transmission to humans, have identified Pasteurella multocida, Staphylococcus spp. and Moraxella spp. In parallel, the identification of pathogens in wounds of humans attacked by cat bites revealed a predominance of the same genera mentioned, as well as anaerobic agents such as Fusobacterium spp. and Porphyromonas spp. Unlike the canine species, felines often use their claws to defend themselves. Thus, it is important to know the microbiota of the nail bed of these animals, since they are responsible for severe zoonoses transmitted by the scratch, such as cat scratch disease (Bartonella henselae) and sporotrichosis (Sporothrix schenckii). Paradoxically, despite the great diversity of microorganisms present in the oral cavity and nail bed of cats, few comprehensive studies have been concerned with the multi-resistance of isolates to antimicrobials or even with the use of cutting-edge molecular techniques, being restricted, in most cases, to case reports using conventional microbiological methods. Mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and large-scale genetic sequencing have presented good results in the diagnosis at the level of species with greater accuracy and in a short time, as well as the characterization of microorganism populations in the mucosa of organic samples. In this context, no study was found using cutting-edge molecular techniques in the diagnosis of the oral microbiota of cats in the national literature consulted, nor in the nail bed in the international literature. Indeed, this study aims to investigate the presence of agents of bacterial and fungal origin in the oral cavity and nail bed of healthy cats based on conventional microbiological techniques, polymerase chain reaction, mass spectrometry, and next-generation sequencing, as well as to investigate the in vitro susceptibility/resistance profile of the isolates.

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