Category Archives: Veterinary Medicine R and D

Researchers Analyze the Potential Zoonotic Transmission of C.difficile Infection from Animals to Human Owners

Despite the low risk for Clostridium difficile
(C. difficile) passing between a cat or dog and their owner, the risk can’t be counted out, according to new research.

Researchers from Germany collected fecal samples from pets, such as cats and dogs in order to analyze the potential zoonotic transmission of C. difficile from animals to human owners.

A total of 1418 fecal samples were collected between July 2012 and August 2013 all across Germany; 415 households were included in the study.

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The pet owner, living in the same house with their pet, filled out a questionnaire and provided a fecal sample from each household member. The survey included basic data and about
C. difficile factors such as antibiotic use, but also asked about residential environment (such as the countryside).

The researchers also collected data about the pets, such as breed, age, sex, whether the animal was neutered, kept inside or outside the house, and if they participated in shows or other activities on differed sites.

The study authors explained that C. difficile infection reports in dogs demonstrate that companion animals can be a source of community-acquired infection in humans, though the data is scarce, especially in Germany, where research into such topics is restricted to cats and dogs in animal shelters only, and better studies haven’t been published in the last 30 years.

The analysis showed that the prevalence associated with C. difficile infection in households with pets was about 3%; the researchers said this is about the same as the rest of the community. The researchers also wrote that it was important to note C. difficile did not occur simultaneously in animals and humans sharing the same household.

“The same good hygienic practice for potentially pathogenic bacteria also applies for C. difficile,” study author Denise Rabold, doctoral student, research associate, Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Germany

“Sharing the same environment makes certain demands on pet-keeping households but does not demand specific requirements to prevent infections with C. difficile.

That means, for example, that we would not essentially recommend sleeping in the same bed but encourage hand hygiene for pet owners. However, if a C. difficile infection index case lives in the same household, advanced hygienic measurements should be applied to disable the spread of vegetative cells and spores of C. difficile — this implies also for disinfectants with an effective spectrum of activity against spores.”

Rabold said C. difficile has low isolation rates among cats, dogs and their owners, and the evidence of a high overlap in relevant ribotypes, as well as the risk assessment of the data from the survey, could suggest that there is zoonotic potential.

Despite all that, Rabold added that her findings are an “important tile in the puzzle of C. difficile infection epidemiology,” noting that other findings could dispel the team’s research.

The risk factors described for C. difficile humans still apply to animals — such as age, hospitalization, prior antibiotic use and contact with fecal matter or diarrhea — the researchers concluded.

Thus, in order to discover possible sources for community-acquired C. difficile and understand the zoonotic potential, more studies are needed.

The paper, titled “The zoonotic potential of Clostridium difficile from small companion animals and their owners,” was published in the journal Plos One.

Researchers at MGGen Are Part Of a Community Study In Flagstaff, AZ On Two Serious Infection-Causing Bacteria; Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus


Researchers at Northern Arizona University’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, or MGGen, are putting out a call for poop.

The request is part of a community study on two nasty infection-causing bacteria in order to identify how the bugs are being carried around Flagstaff,  AZ and how they are making their way into the hospital.

The researchers say the pathogens could be present on any number of things, from dogs to ground meat to humans themselves.

It is hoped that confirming those reservoirs and tracking how the bacteria are transmitted will lead to new recommendations for how people and hospitals can better prevent the infections, the researchers said.


The two bacteria, Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, and Staphylococcus aureus, or Staph, are important to study because they are notorious for causing hospital-acquired infections that are often difficult to treat.

Staph can cause skin and respiratory infections while symptoms of C. diff infections include diarrhea and fever.

For the research project, MGGen scientists are comparing Staph and C. diff bacteria collected from sick patients at Flagstaff Medical Center to those bacteria carried by healthy people.

Samples of the latter come from volunteers willing to provide a swab from inside their nose and a swab of their fecal material from used toilet tissue. The researchers have received 65 healthy community member samples and their goal is to get 500 by next April.

MGGen’s specialty is whole genome sequencing, which allows scientists to compare even the tiniest genetic variations between the samples. With that, they can tell how closely the samples are related, indicating potential transmission paths.

The study has found:  that the bacteria strains in ill patients don’t match those found in other hospital cases, indicating the organisms aren’t lingering in the hospital and being transmitted from patient to patient but are being acquired by people before they get into the hospital, said Heidie Hornstra O’Neill, research project coordinator at MGGen.

both bacteria species can live on and in healthy people without causing any problems, one possibility is that the pathogen hangs out in people’s bodies without causing any symptoms and then proliferates when the immune systems is weakened.

It could also be that only certain strains of the bacteria cause disease while others do not. About a third of people carry Staph bacteria, for example, but only a small percentage of people get a Staph infection, which could mean only some strains are dangerous, said Paul Keim, lab director at MGGen.

The researchers are collecting demographic information as well to see if a person’s gender, ethnicity or access to healthcare plays a role in whether they carry the bacteria.


DOG POO SAMPLES:   Another potential source of C. diff bacteria, especially in a place like Flagstaff, is dogs, said Nate Stone, a research specialist at MGGen. Stone searched the sidewalks of Flagstaff for four months in the fall of 2014, collecting samples of dog poop to test them for C. diff. He found the bacteria were present in 17 percent of the 200 samples and half of the strains found are common in human C. diff infections. 

“We don’t know if dogs are giving humans C. diff or humans are giving dogs C. diff, but we do know dogs are carrying C. diff strains that can cause infections in humans, so they are probably one part of the story,” Stone said.

Next up, he’ll use genetic analysis to see if any bacteria from the dog poop samples match human samples, suggesting direct transmission.

Another possible C. diff reservoir is meat, and that’s also on Stone’s future research agenda.

The end goal of providing more data on these infection-causing bacteria is to help everyone from ordinary citizens to medical organizations figure out better ways to prevent them, Stone and Keim said.

“The reservoir stuff is fascinating because we think we can affect the way people live,” Keim said.


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NEW Clorox Healthcare Fuzion Cleaner Disinfectant Kills 36 Microorganisms, Including C. difficile Spores, In 2 Minutes Or Less


Kills 36 Microorganisms in 2 Minutes or Less

Now You Can Use Bleach in More Places than Ever Before     HEALTHCARE

A next-generation bleach product that kills C. difficile spores in 2 minutes, has broad surface compatibility for everyday use, and has a low odor that disappears within minutes.

Use Sites and Applications

Medical: Autoclaves, bedrails, bedside tables, carts, counters, computer screens, diagnostic equipment, dialysis machines, glucometers, gurneys, IV pumps, patient monitoring equipment, plastic mattress covers, remote controls, shower fixtures, stretchers, toilet handholds, walls around toilet/patient rooms, wash basins, wheelchairs, x-ray equipment

  • Dental: Countertops, dentist chairs, endodontic equipment, instrument trays, light lens covers, operatory surfaces, reception counters/desks
  • Veterinary: Animal equipment, transportation vehicles, veterinary care surfaces
  • General Use/Miscellaneous surfaces: Bed frames, doorknobs, hand railings, changing tables, highchairs, playpens, bath tubs, sinks and toilets


Directions for Use

  1. REMOVE gross soil if visible. For C. difficile spores and TB, always clean surface prior to disinfecting.
  2. SPRAY 6″–8″ from surface until surface is completely wet.
  3. To DISINFECT, let stand for 1 minute. To kill C. difficile spores, allow 2 minutes contact.
  4. WIPE with a clean, damp cloth. Allow to air dry.

CAUTION: Moderate eye irritant. Do not get in eyes or on clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco, or going to the toilet.

Click on the link below to be redirected to the Clorox Healthcare website:

  • Please Contact CLOROX HEALTHCARE with any questions or concerns regarding Clorox products.


NOTE:  The C Diff Foundation Does Not Endorse or Promote Any Products Or Services Shared On This Website, This Posting Is Strictly For Information Purposes Only.

Risks of Zoonotic Diseases; Pet Owners Need More Awareness of The Risks


Pet owners should be more aware of the risk of disease spread by their animal companions, experts have warned.

Infections from pets are a real threat to vulnerable groups such as newborn babies, children with leukemia, cancer patients, and anyone with a weak immune system, it is claimed.

A new review of “zoonotic” animal-to-human infection suggests that many people including doctors are not taking the risk sufficiently seriously.

Dr Jason Stull, one of the authors from the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at Ohio State University in the US, said: “Studies suggest physicians do not regularly ask about pet contact, nor do they discuss the risks of zoonotic diseases with patients, regardless of the patient’s immune status.”

All pets can potentially transmit diseases to people, the experts point out.

Dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles and amphibians are all capable of transmitting Salmonella, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), Campylobacter jejuni and other sickness-inducing bugs.

Pets can also spread parasites such as hookworm, roundworm or Toxoplasma.

Infections could be acquired from bites, scratches, saliva or contact with faeces, said the researchers writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Reptiles and amphibians were said to present a special risk because they could transmit disease indirectly via contaminated surfaces.

The authors wrote: “Reptiles and amphibians are estimated to be responsible for 11% of all sporadic Salmonella infections among patients less than 21 years of age, and direct contact with such animals is not required for zoonotic transmission.

“In one study, 31% of reptile-associated salmonellosis cases occurred in children less than five years of age and 17% occurred in children aged one year or younger; these findings highlight the heightened risk in children and the potential for reptile-associated Salmonella to be transmitted without direct contact with the animal or its enclosure.”

Despite the danger, 77% of households acquired a high-risk pet after a cancer diagnosis, said Dr Stull.

The experts suggested the following tips to reduce the chances of picking up an infection from your pet:

:: Wear protective gloves to clean aquariums and cages.

:: Handwash properly after pet contact.

:: Discourage face-licking by pets.

:: Avoid contact with exotic animals.

:: Regularly clean and disinfect animal cages, feeding areas and bedding.

:: Locate litter boxes or trays away from areas where eating and food preparation take place.

:: If immunocompromised, wait until your immune system has strengthened before acquiring a new pet.

:: Regularly schedule vet visits for all your pets.

Dr Stull added: “Given the health benefits of animal ownership and the reluctance of patients to give up their pets, resources highlight the importance of following specific precautions.

” Patients at high risk and their households should have increased vigilance of their pets’ health and take precautions to reduce pathogen transmission.”


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Metanome TM and Companion PBx Partnering at Providing Innovative Digestive Health Solutions for Companion Animals

Metanome and Companion PBx Enter into Strategic Partnership

Providing Innovative Digestive Health Solutions for Companion Animals

Metanome, Inc., a Houston-based provider of comprehensive metagenomic services and data analysis has entered into a strategic partnership with Companion PBx, a developer and provider of innovative digestive health solutions for companion animals.  In June of last year, both companies entered into an agreement whereby Metanome will provide metagenomic services that will enable a scientific cornerstone of product development by Companion PBx.

With an initial focus on canines, Companion PBx is now ready to introduce a sample collection kit, provided by Metanome, and a web-based metadata survey to veterinarian clinics across the nation.  This survey will enable the establishment of a microbiome database comprised of health data for thousands of healthy and unhealthy dogs so that an unhealthy dog’s diet can be modified with specially developed foods and/or probiotics to enable a rapid return to a healthy status.  Metanome will perform the metagenomic analyses on the samples that will enable Companion PBx to develop various digestive health solutions and make recommendations to pet owners and their veterinarians.

Dr. Joseph Petrosino, Founder and Chief Science Officer of Metanome and Director of the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research at Baylor College of Medicine stated, “Companion PBx presented us with an exciting opportunity to leverage the expertise that we have developed on humans and expand it to domestic animals.  Given the importance that owners place on the health of their pets, it makes sense to expand microbiome research to companion animals and specifically to help animals suffering from digestive problems.”

Robert Millman, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Companion PBx stated, “We are thrilled to partner with Metanome to offer our microbiome Dx Fingerprint kit for use in companion pets. Metanome’s integrated sequencing and informatics technology will allow us to collect and obtain the largest annotated microbiome dataset in existence, which we will use to inform and develop proprietary pre- and probiotic supplements to optimize a companion animal’s digestive health.”

About Metanome, Inc.
Metanome provides comprehensive metagenomic services and data analysis focused on solutions that benefit health and improve environmental conditions and industrial processes worldwide. The company is a BCM Technologies,Inc. portfolio company.  Building on the research conducted at the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research at Baylor College of Medicine, Metanome has extensive experience with highly diverse microbiome sample types.  For more information, please visit

About Companion PBx
Companion PBx is a private biotech company developing a suite of nutrition products for optimal cat and dog digestive health based on microbiome diversity and gut microbial fingerprints.  The Company is developing a Dx Fingerprint kit as the first diagnostic product to pinpoint deficiencies in a pet’s GI health.  The Company is further developing in combination, a suite of PBx Treats: nutrition products made of proprietary combinations of pre- and probiotic supplements, which are shown to correct deficiencies in a pet’s digestive health.  Companion PBx products are designed by experts in pet digestive health and formulations are built from clinically proven ingredients.


Source: Metanome PR news release