Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Chlamydia in canine or feline coronary arteriosclerotic lesions

Ivan C Sostaric-Zuckermann1, Nicole Borel2*, Carmen Kaiser2, Zeljko Grabarevic1 and Andreas Pospischil2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Pathology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

2 Institute for Veterinary Pathology, University of Zurich, Vetsuisse Faculty, Winterthurerstrasse 268, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:350  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-350

Published: 9 September 2011



There are numerous reports linking Chlamydia infection to human coronary atherosclerosis. However, there is a lack of data regarding this correlation in dogs and cats, and there are no reports investigating coronary arteriosclerosis and Chlamydia in these species. The aim of the present study was to examine whether there is a correlation between canine and feline spontaneous atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis and the presence of Chlamydia. Archived histopathological samples of dogs (n = 16) and cats (n = 13) with findings of atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis in heart tissue were examined for the presence of Chlamydiaceae using real-time PCR, ArrayTube Microarray and immunohistochemistry. Additionally, arteriosclerotic lesions of all cases were histologically classified and graded.


Both canine atherosclerotic cases, and all 14 canine arteriosclerotic cases were negative for Chlamydia. Only one of the 13 arteriosclerotic feline cases was positive for Chlamydia by real-time PCR, revealing C. abortus by ArrayTube Microarray. To our knowledge, this is the first description of C. abortus in a cat. Overall, the type and grade of canine and feline arteriosclerotic lesions revealed similarities, and were predominantly moderate and hyperplastic.


These findings suggest that there is no obvious correlation between canine and feline coronary arteriosclerosis and the presence of Chlamydia. In order to draw final conclusions about the correlation between Chlamydia and canine atherosclerosis, examination of more samples is required.