Molecular detection of hemotropic mycoplasmas (hemoplasmas) in domestic cats (Felis catus) in Romania
Background: The hemotropic mycoplasmas (hemoplasmas) of the genus Mycoplasma are recognized as important bacteria that parasitize red blood cells, causing hemolytic anemia in many mammalian species, including cats. No information is available concerning the presence of feline hemoplasma infections in cats in Romania. Thus, the objective of the present study was to provide data on the occurrence and molecular characterization of hemotropic mycoplasmas in client-owned cats in Romania. Methods :
... omania. Methods : Blood samples from 51 unhealthy cats, originating from Timişoara Municipality, Romania, were screened for the presence of hemoplasmas using conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the 16S rRNA gene and sequencing assays. PCR-positive samples were subsequently analyzed by phylogenetic and population genetic analysis. Results: Molecular analysis revealed 11 (21.6%) positive samples, consisting of 8 (72.7%) Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum and 3 (27.3%) Mycoplasma haemofelis confirmed positives. Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis was not detected, and no co-infections were registered. No significant associations ( p > 0 . 05) were found between the hemoplasma infection status and age, gender, breed, presence of ectoparasites, feline leukemia virus/feline immunodeficiency virus (FeLV/FIV) positivity of cats, or the sampling season. However, outdoor access was positively associated ( p =0.049) with infection and could be considered a risk factor (OR=4.1) in acquiring feline hemotropic mycoplasmas. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that our sequences clustered with those selected from the GenBank database in two distinct clades. The registered population genetic indices were strongly supportive of the great variance in sequences between the recorded Mycoplasma species. Conclusions : The findings support the occurrence of feline hemoplasma infections in previously uninvestigated territories of Europe, providing useful information for small animal practitioners. To our knowledge, the present survey is the first reported molecular evidence of feline hemoplasma infections in Romania.