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STAPHYLOCOCCUS pseudintermedius is the main Staphylococcus species colonising the skin and mucocutaneous junctions and causing pyoderma in dogs (Bannoehr and Guardabassi 2012). Puppies are colonised by S pseudintermedius derived from the bitch immediately after birth (Allaker and others 1992, Saijonmaa-Koulumies and Lloyd 2002). Neonatal mortality in puppies in the first two weeks of life has been associated with omphalophlebitis, multifocal abscessation and septicaemia caused by S pseudintermedius (Sager and Remmers 1990, Rota and others 2007). Here we describe neonatal mortality in puppies with staphylococcal dermatitis/pododermatitis and, in some cases, septicaemia.
Postmortem examinations were performed on 20 puppies from nine litters from 1986 to 2010. The puppies died at 2–14 days (mean 6 days) of age (Table 1) after clinical signs of 1–3 days duration, including lethargy and failure to suck. Some puppies initially exhibited increased vocalisation, followed by reduced vocalisation as they progressively became lethargic and depressed. Two to seven puppies died per litter and mortality was 37.5–100 per cent. In two litters (litters 2 and 9), one or more puppies were stillborn, followed by neonatal mortalities from 1 to 4 days of age. In one of these litters (litter 2), the bitch had a history of vulvitis.
Detailed findings are reported for one representative puppy from each of nine litters (Table 1). On gross pathological examination, the nine puppies had 0.5 to 4 mm diameter dark brown or black spots, …