The oral and conjunctival microbiotas in cats with and without feline immunodeficiency virus infection

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The oral and conjunctival microbiotas likely play important roles in protection from opportunistic infections, while also being the source of potential pathogens. Yet, there has been limited investigation in cats, and the impact of comorbidities such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection has not been reported. Oral and conjunctival swabs were collected from cats with FIV infection and FIV-uninfected controls, and subjected to 16S rRNA gene (V4) PCR and next generation sequencing. 9,249 OTUs were identified from conjunctival swabs, yet the most common 20 (0.22%) OTUs accounted for 76% of sequences. The two most abundant OTUs both belonged to Staphylococcus, and accounted for 37% of sequences. Cats with FIV infection had significantly lower relative abundances of Verrucomicrobia, Fibrobacteres, Spirochaetes, Bacteroidetes and Tenericutes, and a higher relative abundance of Deinococcus-Thermus. There were significant differences in both community membership (P = 0.006) and community structure (P = 0.02) between FIV-infected and FIV-uninfected cats. FIV-infected cats had significantly higher relative abundances of Fusobacteria and Actinobacteria in the oral cavity, and significantly higher relative abundances of several bacterial classes including Fusobacteria (0.022 vs 0.007, P = 0.006), Actinobacteria (0.017 vs 0.003, P = 0.003), Sphingobacteria (0.00015 vs 0.00003, P = 0.0013) and Flavobacteria (0.0073 vs 0.0034, P = 0.030). The feline conjunctival and oral microbiotas are complex polymicrobial communities but dominated by a limited number of genera. There is an apparent impact of FIV infection on various components of the microbiota, and assessment of the clinical relevance of these alterations in required.




Weese, S. J., Nichols, J., Jalali, M., & Litster, A. (2015). The oral and conjunctival microbiotas in cats with and without feline immunodeficiency virus infection. Veterinary Research, 46(1).

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