Presence of Mycoplasma haemofelis, Mycoplasma haemominutum and piroplasmids in cats from southern Europe: a molecular study

Vet Microbiol. 2003 Jun 10;93(4):307-17. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1135(03)00044-0.


Clinical symptoms produced by Mycoplasma spp. and piroplasmids in cats are sometimes similar. Diagnosis of these pathogens is difficult by microscopic procedures and molecular methods have been used as an alternative. We present in this work, the development of new molecular procedures for diagnosis of the aforementioned organisms, together with a molecular characterization of isolates found in southern European cats.A single PCR-RFLP procedure was designed for diagnosis of Mycoplasma spp. and a seminested PCR-RFLP was designed for diagnosis of piroplasmids. The 16S or 18S rRNA genes of isolates found in clinical samples were partially sequenced in all positive cases. Mycoplasma spp. was detected in 9 (30%) out of 30 symptomatic cats from Spain. Sequencing indicated that 66.6% of these isolates can be ascribed to Mycoplasma haemofelis and only 33.3% to Mycoplasma haemominutum. Partial 16S rRNA sequences obtained in Spanish isolates were very similar to those previously published from the UK and the USA. The presence of piroplasmids (Babesia and Theileria spp.) was studied in 16 cats from Spain (n=13) and Portugal (n=3). Animals analyzed were 10 cats with immunosuppressive viral infection (either FeLV or FIV), 5 asymptomatic cats and 1 cat with Babesia-compatible symptoms. Asymptomatic cats were all PCR-negative. Partial sequencing of 18S rRNA gene demonstrated that the Babesia-symptomatic cat was infected with Babesia canis canis whereas 3 (30%) out of the 10 cats with immunosuppressive viral infection were coinfected with piroplasmids (1 with B. canis canis, 1 with Theileria annae, and 1 with B. canis canis and T. annae both).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Babesia / genetics
  • Babesia / isolation & purification*
  • Babesiosis / blood
  • Babesiosis / diagnosis
  • Babesiosis / veterinary*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cat Diseases / microbiology*
  • Cat Diseases / parasitology*
  • Cats
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Protozoan / chemistry
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycoplasma / genetics
  • Mycoplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / blood
  • Mycoplasma Infections / diagnosis
  • Mycoplasma Infections / veterinary*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Portugal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spain
  • Theileria / genetics
  • Theileria / isolation & purification*
  • Theileriasis / blood
  • Theileriasis / diagnosis
  • Theileriasis / parasitology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S