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J Comp Pathol. 2012 May;146(4):298-307. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2011.07.006. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Fluorescence in-situ hybridization for the identification of bacterial species in archival heart valve sections of canine bacterial endocarditis.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, USA. (


Bacterial endocarditis (BE) is defined as inflammation of cardiac valve structures and/or the endocardium secondary to bacterial infection. Canine valvular BE is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and ante-mortem diagnosis and post-mortem identification of causative organisms is problematic. Identification of bacteria in canine BE has traditionally relied on visualization of organisms on histological sections stained with haematoxylin and eosin (HE), Gram and modified Steiner's stains. Each of these staining techniques has limitations with respect to identification of bacterial species in cases of BE. Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) has been introduced recently as a technique to identify bacteria in biological specimens. To our knowledge, FISH has not been used previously to identify bacteria in archival samples of heart valves from dogs with naturally occurring BE. We sought to determine whether FISH could detect the presence and species of bacteria in archival heart valve sections from dogs with BE, and to compare FISH to histochemical stains in the identification of bacteria. FISH detected bacteria in seven of 17 cases of canine BE and showed near perfect agreement with modified Steiner's stain for the detection of bacteria. FISH identified Streptococcus spp. and/or Staphylococcus spp. in all of these cases, but Bartonella spp. were not identified.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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