The prevalence of three species of feline haemoplasmas in samples submitted to a diagnostics service as determined by three novel real-time duplex PCR assays

Vet Microbiol. 2008 Jan 1;126(1-3):142-50. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2007.06.017. Epub 2007 Jun 26.


Three distinct species of feline haemoplasmas are recognised: Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (CMhm) and Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis (CMt). These species differ in pathogenicity as Mhf and CMt can be associated with anaemia whereas CMhm usually results in few clinical signs. The purpose of this study was to develop quantitative real-time PCR assays for the detection of all three feline haemoplasma species combined with an endogenous internal control and to determine the prevalence of infection, using these assays, in 1592 EDTA blood samples submitted to Langford Veterinary Diagnostics, University of Bristol for haemoplasma testing. Primers and TaqMan probes were designed against published 16S rDNA sequences. These assays were combined with a feline 28S rDNA-specific assay to produce three duplex assays. The assays detected 1-10 copies of a sequence-specific plasmid per PCR. None of the assays showed cross-reactivity with 10(6) copies of a sequence-specific plasmid from the non-target haemoplasma species. Real-time PCR was performed on all samples using the three assays. Seven samples were negative for feline 28S rDNA and were excluded from the study. Of the remaining 1585 samples, 45 (2.8%), 177 (11.2%) and 27 (1.7%) samples were positive for Mhf, CMhm and CMt, respectively, including 11 Mhf/CMhm, 10 CMhm/CMt and two Mhf/CMt dual infections and two triple infections. The results of this study demonstrate the utility of these new duplex PCR assays for the detection of haemoplasma infections. CMhm was the most common infection and CMt infections were often associated with co-infection with other haemoplasma species, especially CMhm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cat Diseases / microbiology*
  • Cats
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Mycoplasma / classification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary*
  • Prevalence
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S