Prevalence and co-infection of haemotropic mycoplasmas in Portuguese cats by real-time polymerase chain reaction

J Feline Med Surg. 2013 Oct;15(10):879-85. doi: 10.1177/1098612X13480985. Epub 2013 Mar 12.


The diagnosis of feline haemoplasmosis has improved over the years, with several techniques enabling a clear and specific diagnosis, and where polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is considered as the 'gold standard'. The aim of this study was to survey the prevalence of feline haemoplasmas in 320 cats from the north-central region of Portugal by the use of real-time PCR, as well as to evaluate any associations between infection, clinical presentation and risk factors. The overall prevalence of infection by feline haemoplasmas was 43.43% (139/320), where 41.56% (133/320) corresponded to Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (CMhm), 12.81% (41/320) to Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhf), 4.38% (14/320) to Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum and 1.25% (4/320) to Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis. Almost 13% (47/320) of the samples were co-infected, with the most common co-infection being CMhm and Mhf (23.74%). Infection was found statistically significant with feline immunodeficiency/feline leukaemia virus status (P = 0.034), but no significant association was found for breed, sex, fertility status (neutered/spayed/entire), age, clinical status, living conditions (in/outdoor), anaemia status, or the presence/absence of ticks or fleas. Cats from north-central Portugal are infected with all the known feline haemoplasma species, with CMhm being the most common one. Prevalence of all feline haemoplasmas was higher than that reported previously in cats from other European countries, but similar to that described in Portugal for dogs. These data provide a better perspective regarding Mycoplasma species infection in Europe, and new information that helps us better understand feline haemoplasmosis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cat Diseases / microbiology*
  • Cats
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mycoplasma / classification*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / diagnosis
  • Mycoplasma Infections / veterinary*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary*