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Open Access Research article

Characterization of the biofilm forming ability of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius from dogs

Ameet Singh1*, Meagan Walker1, Joyce Rousseau2 and Jeffrey Scott Weese2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

2 Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:93  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-93

Published: 3 May 2013



Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is an opportunistic pathogen of dogs and has emerged as a leading cause of skin, wound and surgical site infections worldwide. Methicillin resistance is common and clinical infections as a result of methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) pose a clinical challenge. In other staphylococci, biofilm formation has been shown to be a virulence factor for infection, however, it has received little attention in S. pseudintermedius. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the biofilm forming ability of clinical isolates of S. pseudintermedius obtained from dogs using phenotypic and genotypic techniques.


96% (136/140) of S. pseudintermedius isolates were classified as strong or moderate biofilm producers, with the majority of isolates being able to produce biofilm. There was no difference in biofilm formation between MRSP and MSSP (p=0.8), amongst isolates from clinical infections compared with isolates obtained from colonized dogs (p=0.08), and between isolates from sequence type (ST) 71 and ST 68 (P=0.09). icaA was detected in 77.9% (109/140) of isolates and icaD was detected in 75.7% (106/140) of isolates. Scanning electron microscopic evaluation of S. pseudintermedius biofilm production revealed aggregates of cocci and irregularly produced extracellular polymeric matrix.


The majority of S. pseudintermedius isolates evaluated in this study were able to produce biofilm and this may be an important virulence factor in the rapid emergence of this bacterium in veterinary hospitals worldwide. Further study into the mechanisms of biofilm formation by S. pseudintermedius is warranted.

Biofilm; Staphylococcus pseudintermedius; Microtitre plate assay; icaA; icaD