Bacterial microbiome in the nose of healthy cats and in cats with nasal disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Traditionally, changes in the microbial population of the nose have been assessed using conventional culture techniques. Sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes demonstrated that the human nose is inhabited by a rich and diverse bacterial microbiome that cannot be detected using culture-based methods. The goal of this study was to describe the nasal microbiome of healthy cats, cats with nasal neoplasia, and cats with feline upper respiratory tract disease (FURTD). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: DNA was extracted from nasal swabs of healthy cats (n = 28), cats with nasal neoplasia (n = 16), and cats with FURTD (n = 15), and 16S rRNA genes were sequenced. High species richness was observed in all samples. Rarefaction analysis revealed that healthy cats living indoors had greater species richness (observed species p = 0.042) and Shannon diversity (p = 0.003) compared with healthy cats living outdoors. Higher species richness (observed species p = 0.001) and Shannon diversity (p<0.001) were found in middle-aged cats in comparison to healthy cats in different age groups. Principal coordinate analysis revealed separate clustering based on similarities in bacterial molecular phylogenetic trees of 16S rRNA genes for indoor and outdoor cats. In all groups examined, the most abundant phyla identified were Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes. At the genus level, 375 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified. In healthy cats and cats with FURTD, Moraxella spp. was the most common genus, while it was unclassified Bradyrhizobiaceae in cats with nasal neoplasia. High individual variability was observed. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the nose of cats is inhabited by much more variable and diverse microbial communities than previously shown. Future research in this field might help to develop new diagnostic tools to easily identify nasal microbial changes, relate them to certain disease processes, and help clinicians in the decision process of antibiotic selection for individual patients.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 7

author list (cited authors)

  • Dorn, E. S., Tress, B., Suchodolski, J. S., Nisar, T., Ravindran, P., Weber, K., Hartmann, K., & Schulz, B. S.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Dorn, Elisabeth S||Tress, Barbara||Suchodolski, Jan S||Nisar, Tariq||Ravindran, Prajesh||Weber, Karin||Hartmann, Katrin||Schulz, Bianka S

editor list (cited editors)

  • Smidt, H.

publication date

  • June 2017