Pseudomonas spp

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Ulcerative keratitis in a dog due to P. aeruginosa[1]
Chronic otitis externa with Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection[2]

Pseudomonas spp are a group of Gram-negative, aerobic zoonotic proteobacteria that are sulfate reducing and produce a characteristic rotten-egg smell.

Pseudomonas are a commensal of dogs skin and part of the normal gastrointestinal microbiota.

Zoonotic infections in humans usually arise from dog bite wounds[3] and can lead to cellulitis, bacteremia and meningitis.

Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens

Transmission of infection is by aerosol, fecal smearing, blood transfusion[4] and self-trauma.

These bacteria are a leading cause of otitis externa[5], deep pyoderma[6], periodontitis[7], ulcerative keratitis[8], epididymitis and cystitis[9].

However, opportunistic infections may lead to more serious disease such as septicemia, osteomyelitis[10] and pneumonia[11].

These bacteria appear to be more common in gastrointestinal sampling from dogs with ulcerative colitis, although their presence may be as secondary opportunists rather than an etiological agent[12].

Diagnosis is based usually on presenting clinical signs and isolation of the bacteria via laboratory culture or PCR assay[13].

These bacteria are resistant to many β-lactams (penicillins, cephalosporins), gentamicin[14] and fluorquinolones such as enrofloxacin and orbifloxacin[15].

In dogs with otitis externa, treatment with multi-drug aural preparations are usually effective at eliminating clinical signs.


  1. Ledbetter EC et al (2009) Pathogenic phenotype and genotype of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from spontaneous canine ocular infections. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 50(2):729-736
  2. DVM360
  3. Brook I (2009) Management of human and animal bite wound infection: an overview. Curr Infect Dis Rep 11(5):389-395
  4. Kessler RJ et al (2010) Pseudomonas fluorescens contamination of a feline packed red blood cell unit and studies of canine units. Vet Clin Pathol 39(1):29-38
  5. Steen SI & Paterson S (2012) The susceptibility of Pseudomonas spp. isolated from dogs with otitis to topical ear cleaners. J Small Anim Pract 53(10):599-603
  6. Baxter CG & Vogelnest LJ (2008) Multifocal papular deep bacterial pyoderma in a Boxer dog caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Aust Vet J 86(11):435-439
  7. Riggio MP et al (2011) Molecular identification of bacteria associated with canine periodontal disease. Vet Microbiol 150(3-4):394-400
  8. Santos TM et al (2011) Isolation and characterization of two bacteriophages with strong in vitro antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from dogs with ocular infections. Am J Vet Res 72(8):1079-1086
  9. Gatoria IS et al (2006) Comparison of three techniques for the diagnosis of urinary tract infections in dogs with urolithiasis. J Small Anim Pract 47(12):727-732
  10. Penna B et al (2009) Ostemyelitis by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a dog from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. J Small Anim Pract 50(9):504
  11. Luna CM et al (2009) Animal models of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Eur Respir J 33(1):182-188
  12. Suchodolski JS et al (2010) Molecular analysis of the bacterial microbiota in duodenal biopsies from dogs with idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. Vet Microbiol 142(3-4):394-400
  13. Silkie SS & Nelson KL (2009) Concentrations of host-specific and generic fecal markers measured by quantitative PCR in raw sewage and fresh animal feces. Water Res 43(19):4860-4871
  14. Lin D et al (2012) Characterization of antimicrobial resistance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from canine infections. J Appl Microbiol 113(1):16-23
  15. Harada K et al (2012) Post-antibiotic effect of orbifloxacin against Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from dogs. Acta Vet Scand 54:16