Healthy cats are commonly colonized with 'Helicobacter heilmannii' that is associated with minimal gastritis

C. R. Norris, Stanley L Marks, K. A. Eaton, S. Z. Torabian, R. J. Munn, Jay V Solnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Gastric Helicobacter infection in healthy pet cats is not well characterized. We performed endoscopy with gastric biopsy on 15 healthy pet cats that were rigorously screened to exclude underlying or concurrent diseases that might affect Helicobacter colonization, Gastric mucosa biopsy specimens were examined by histology, culture, and PCR for the presence of Helicobacter infection and by histology for the presence of gastritis. Of 15 cats, all but 1 had gastric Helicobacter-like organisms (GHLOs) on examination by light microscopy, and in the one histologically negative cat, GHLOs were detected by PCR. Gastric inflammation was mild or was absent for all cats. No Helicobacter species were identified by culture. Analysis of the 16S rRNA sequence from Helicobacter strains from 10 cats showed that all bacteria were closely related to Helicobacter felis, although there was heterogeneity among the sequences. These results suggest that the gastric mucosa of healthy pet cats is commonly colonized with an uncultivated Helicobacter that is closely related to H. felis, is associated with little or no gastritis, and shows heterogeneity in its 16S rRNA sequence. The epithet 'Helicobacter heilmannii' continues to be an appropriate working designation for these bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


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