Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ulcerative keratitis in a Thoroughbred racehorse

J Equine Sci. 2015;26(3):95-8. doi: 10.1294/jes.26.95. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


We report the first case of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) keratitis in a racehorse. A 5-year-old mare developed punctate keratitis after racing. The corneal ulcer continued to expand despite ophthalmic antimicrobial therapy. On day 6, a conjunctival graft surgery was performed. The mare was euthanized, following colitis and laminitis development on day 10. MRSA was isolated from the corneal swab taken at the time of euthanasia. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated gram-positive and anti-S. aureus monoclonal antibody-positive cocci infiltration of the corneal stroma; and a diagnosis of MRSA ulcerative keratitis was made. An ophthalmic antimicrobial against the isolated MRSA did not improve the ocular lesion. The MRSA strain was found to be staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec type II, a strain frequently isolated from humans in Japan.

Keywords: corneal ulcer; horse; keratitis; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.