The dog is the natural host of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius. Many research efforts are currently being undertaken to expand our knowledge and understanding of this important canine commensal and opportunistic pathogen. The objective of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of the species, including the latest research outcomes, with emphasis on taxonomy, diagnostics, ecology, epidemiology and pathogenicity. Despite the important taxonomic changes that have occurred over the past few years, the risk of misidentification in canine specimens is low and does not have serious consequences for clinical practice. Staphylococcus pseudintermedius carriage in the dog is more frequent and genetically heterogeneous compared with that of Staphylococcus aureus in man. It appears that these staphylococcal species have evolved separately through adaptation to their respective natural hosts and differ with regard to various aspects concerning ecology, population structure and evolution of antibiotic resistance. Further understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of S. pseudintermedius is hampered by the lack of a standard method for rapid and discriminatory typing and by the limited data available on longitudinal carriage and population structure of meticillin-susceptible strains. With regard to pathogenicity, it is only now that we are starting to explore the virulence potential of S. pseudintermedius based on genomic and proteomic approaches, and more research is needed to assess the importance of individual virulence factors and the possible existence of hypervirulent strains.
© 2012 The Authors. Veterinary Dermatology © 2012 ESVD and ACVD.