Actinomycosis in a gray four-eyed opossum (Philander opossum) caused by a novel species of Schaalia

Knöpfler, Stefanie; Schauer, Alexandria; Thomann, Andreas; Feyer, Simon; Rüegg-van den Broek, Peggy; Glardon, Olivier Jean; Kittl, Sonja (2021). Actinomycosis in a gray four-eyed opossum (Philander opossum) caused by a novel species of Schaalia. BMC veterinary research, 17(1), p. 243. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12917-021-02937-3

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Background: Infective lesions of the jaws and adjacent tissues (lumpy jaw disease, LJD) have been recognized as one major cause of death of captive macropods. Fusobacterium necrophorum and Actinomyces species serve as the main source of LJD in kangaroos and wallabies. Currently, little is reported about LJD or similar diseases in opossums.

Case presentation: Here we report a case of actinomycosis resembling the entity lumpy jaw disease in a gray four-eyed opossum, caused by a novel species of Schaalia. A 2.8 year old male Philander opossum was presented with unilateral swelling of the right mandible. After an initial treatment with marbofloxacin, the opossum was found dead the following day and the carcass was submitted for necropsy. Postmortem examination revealed severe mandibular skin and underlying soft tissue infection with subsequent septicemia as the cause of death. Histological examination demonstrated Splendore-Hoeppli phenomenon, typically seen in classical cases of actinomycosis. Bacteriology of liver and mandibular mass yielded a previously undescribed species of Schaalia, whose 16 S rRNA gene sequence was 97.0 % identical to Schaalia canis. Whole genome sequencing of the opossum isolate and calculation of average nucleotide identity confirmed a novel species of Schaalia, for which no whole genome sequence is yet available.

Conclusions: The herewith reported Schaalia infection in the gray four-eyed opossum resembling classical actinomycosis gives a novel insight into new exotic animal bacterial diseases. Schaalia species may belong to the normal oral microbiome, as in macropods, and may serve as a contributor to opportunistic infections. Due to the lack of current literature, more insights and improved knowledge about Schaalia spp. and their pathogenicity will be useful to choose appropriate therapy regimens and improve the treatment success rate and outcome in exotic and endangered species.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Animal Pathology

UniBE Contributor:

Knöpfler, Stefanie Valentina; Schauer, Alexandria Marie; Thomann, Andreas; Feyer, Simon and Kittl, Sonja

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

1746-6148

Publisher:

BioMed Central

Language:

English

Submitter:

Sonja Kittl

Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2021 14:29

Last Modified:

01 Aug 2021 02:59

Publisher DOI:

10.1186/s12917-021-02937-3

PubMed ID:

34256761

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/157548

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/157548

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