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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Characterization of Treponema spp. isolates from pigs with ear necrosis and shoulder ulcers

Svartström, Olov; Karlsson, Frida; Fellström, Claes; Pringle, Märit


Ear necrosis and shoulder ulcers in pigs are animal welfare problems and ethical issues that can cause economic losses for producers. Spirochetes have been observed microscopically in scrapings from pig ulcers since the early 1900s, but have until recently not been cultured and therefore not characterized. In this study, 12 Treponema spp. isolates were acquired from porcine ear necrosis, shoulder ulcers and gingiva. DNA analysis of the 16S rRNA-tRNA(Ile) intergenic spacer region (ISR2) or the 16S rRNA gene revealed relatedness to oral treponemes found in dogs and humans. All isolates except one aligned into two clusters, Treponema pedis and Treponema sp. OMZ 840-like. The 16S rRNA gene of the remaining isolate shared 99% nucleotide identity with Treponema parvum. Genetic fingerprinting of the isolates was performed through random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD). In addition, the isolates were characterized by biochemical tests, including api (R) ZYM, tryptophanase and hippuricase activity, and by testing the antimicrobial susceptibility to tiamulin, valnemulin, tylosin, tylvalosin, lincomycin and doxycycline using broth dilution. All isolates except two showed unique RAPD fingerprints, whereas metabolic activity tests could not differentiate between the isolates. The MICs of all antimicrobial agents tested were low. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Treponema sp OMZ 840; T. pedis; T. parvum; Ear necrosis; Shoulder ulcer; Pig

Published in

Veterinary Microbiology
2013, Volume: 166, number: 3-4, pages: 617-623