Culture and molecular identification of microorganisms from Digital Dermatitis lesions in dairy cattle: Leptospira, an unexpected finding

Cultivo e identificação molecular de microrganismos isolados de lesões de dermatite digital em bovinos leiteiros: Leptospira, um achado inesperado

S. Diniz S.H.C. Sandes M.R.Q. Bomfim P.C. Santos F.D. Cruz T.F. Moreira M.R.S. Carvalho P.S. Cisalpino E.S. A. Moreira About the authors


Bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) is an infectious and contagious disease characterized by ulcerative and proliferative lesions affecting the skin on the bulbs of the heel or the interdigital cleft in dairy cattle, often associated with lameness. Evidences on the etiology of BDD indicate that it is multifactorial, involving environmental factors and multiple bacterial colonization. We isolated and identified microorganisms from BDD biopsy samples obtained from five Holstein Friesian and two Jersey cows by cultivation and molecular identification of bacterial isolates using 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. We identified six bacterial species: Spirochetes as Treponema pedis and Leptospira broomi/L. fainei, L. licerasiae/L. wolffii; Corynebacterium appendicis, Cupriavidus gilardii and Enterococcus casseliflavus/E. gallinarum. It was quite surprising to have isolated and identified Leptospira species in three out of seven cultures, from different individual cows and two different farms. The species identified belong to the intermediate pathogenic clade, which is a group found to cause human and animal disease. Our findings indicate the need to further investigate the association of Leptospira of intermediate pathogenicity with BDD lesions and whether its presence would have any veterinary and medical significance both in Leptospirosis and with the pathogenesis of BDD lesions, especially in tropical countries

bovine digital dermatitis; molecular identification; 16S rRNA gene analysis; Treponema; Leptospira

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