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Vet Microbiol. 2010 Feb 24;141(1-2):127-33. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.08.015. Epub 2009 Aug 18.

Seasonal variation in detection of bacterial DNA in arthritic stifle joints of dogs with cranial cruciate ligament rupture using PCR amplification of the 16S rRNA gene.

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Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


An underappreciated cause and effect relationship between environmental bacteria and arthritis may exist. Previously, we found that stifle arthritis in dogs was associated with the presence of environmental bacteria within synovium. Cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCLR) is often associated with stifle arthritis in dogs. We now wished to determine whether seasonal variation in detection of bacterial material may exist in affected dogs, and to also conduct analyses of both synovium and synovial fluid. We also wished to analyze a larger clone library of the 16S rRNA gene to further understanding of the microbial population in the canine stifle. Synovial biopsies were obtained from 117 affected dogs from January to December 2006. Using PCR, synovium and synovial fluid were tested for Borrelia burgdorferi and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia DNA. Broad-ranging 16S rRNA primers were also used and PCR products were cloned and sequenced for bacterial identification. Overall, 41% of arthritic canine stifle joints contained bacterial DNA. Detection of bacterial DNA in synovial fluid samples was increased, when compared with synovium (p<0.01). Detection rates were highest in the winter and spring and lowest in the summer period, suggesting environmental factors influence the risk of translocation to the stifle. Organisms detected were predominately Gram's negative Proteobacteria, particularly the orders Rhizobiales (32.8% of clones) and Burkholderiales (20.0% of clones), usually as part of a polymicrobial population. PCR-positivity was inversely correlated with severity of arthritis assessed radiographically and with dog age. Bacterial translocation to the canine stifle may be associated with changes to the indoor environment.

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