Tel.+49 30 83 8-518 40/518 43 Fax.+49 30 838 45 18 51
Streptococcus (S.) canis is a neglected zoonotic pathogen with increasing impor- tance. Since knowledge about its distribution in pets in Germany is scant, we designed a study and tested 335 dogs and 71 cats for colonization by S. canis. S. canis was isolated from swabs taken from the perianal region by culture and subsequent identification was performed biochemically as well as by PCR. In total, 15.8% (53) of the canine and 8.5% (six) of the feline strains grown on Staphlyo- coccus/Streptococcus Selective Agar were tested positive for the Lancefield group G antigen. The vast majority of strains expressing the Lancefield Group G carbohy- drate (56 out of 59) were further identified as S. canis underlining their outstanding role among animal-associated Group G streptococci (GGS). Furthermore, 90.0% of the canine and 83.3% of the feline S. canis strains harbour the species-specific anti- phagocytic M protein homologue SCM, which has been described as an important virulence factor. In contrast, emm-genes typically encoded by human-specific GGS could not be detected in any of the S. canis isolates. Taken together, this study provides insights into the distribution of the neglected zoonotic pathogen S. canis in a population of pets in Germany. The presence of SCM in the vast majority of strains indicates their pathogenic potential.