People: Simon Priestnall

The canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) group at the Royal Veterinary College is currently researching a bacterial disease that has been increasingly implicated in fatal cases of infectious pneumonia in dogs over the past five years – ‘Streptococcus zooepidemicus’.

They are calling for dog owners and vets to recognise the signs of this potentially fatal disease to ensure rapid treatment and contribute to research to reduce further spread. The bacterial infection Streptococcus zooepidemicus causes a severe, bloody pneumonia in dogs, producing signs similar to those associated with toxic-shock syndrome in humans.  

Dr Simon Priestnall and collaborators at the Animal Health Trust and University of Nottingham are engaged in a study to investigate the prevalence of Streptococcus zooepidemicus in the wider UK dog population, including the role of potential carrier animals. As part of this work a rapid and sensitive diagnostic test is being developed which has already been shown to be much more sensitive at detecting possible carriers of the bacterium at low levels than traditional bacterial culture techniques alone. Further research into Streptococcus zooepidemicus is required however to shed light onto how this bacterium causes the most severe and fatal infections.

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