Twelve strains of the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) recovered from hospitalized dogs were analyzed for in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility and virulence, and were genetically characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Antibiotic susceptibility test showed that nearly all isolates were resistant to β-lactam antibiotics tested and all the strains were fully susceptible to glycopeptides. There were no inhibitory activities among the aminoglycosides. The 50% lethal dose (LD50) was determined by intraperitoneal injection of cell suspensions and estimated by the Spearman-Kärber method. The mouse lethality of MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) was not significantly different in both normal and cyclophosphamide-treated mice (p>0.05), indicating that they were equally virulent. There was a great difference in the incidence of toxin production between the MRSA and MSSA group; 83.3% (10 of 12) of the MRSA and 14.3% (1 of 7) of the MSSA were toxin producers. The predominant types produced by MRSA was B. All the MRSA strains were capsular type 5 producers, while of 7 MSSA strains, four were type 5, one for type 8, and two were nontypeable. Based on the PFGE analysis, the 12 MRSA isolates generated 9 to 11 fragments in the size range of <48.5 to 630.5 kb, and yielded 6 different patterns. The results indicated that production of toxin and capsule type do not play a role in the pathogenicity to mouse and PFGE is a valuable tool for the characterization of MRSA. This report is the first such cases in the veterinary literature in Korea and may indicate the frequent emergence of MRSA in veterinary clinic hereafter.
1999 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science