The relationship between Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis biovar equi phenotype with location and extent of lesions in horses

Eline Britz, Sharon Spier, Philip H Kass, Judy M. Edman, Janet E Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Equine infection with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis can manifest in several forms, including external or internal abscesses. The objective of this study was to phenotype clinical isolates of C. pseudotuberculosis and to investigate the relationship between lesion location and extent of lesions in the animals from which they were collected. One hundred and seventy-one C. pseudotuberculosis biovar equi isolates were collected from horses presenting to the University of California Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and two other sources in the period between September 1996 and December 2011. Bacterial isolates were grouped on the bases of biochemical characteristics and growth on brain heart infusion agar. Six phenotypes were identified: (1) large colonies that metabolized sucrose (n=81); (2) large sucrose-negative colonies (n=47); (3) medium sucrose-positive (n=20); (4) medium sucrose-negative (n=11); (5) small sucrose-positive (n=7), and (6) small sucrose-negative (n=5). Medical records corresponding to each isolate were accessed from the University's administrative computer system or from the submitting source in order to determine the anatomical site from which the isolate was collected (n=171), as well as the extent of lesions (n=164) in the patient. The relationship between phenotype, lesion location and extent of lesions was then investigated statistically. No significant relationship between strain and lesion location or extent of lesions was found. This suggests that phenotypic differences during in vitro culture does not account for external versus internal disease in horses. Further work to characterize strains genotypically and to identify determinants for bacterial virulence should be performed. Importantly, host and environmental factors should also be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-286
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis
  • Equine
  • Phenotype
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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