Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Staphylococcus aureus

Synonym(s): S. aureus

Contributor(s): Richard Walker




  • Genus: Staphylococcus.
  • Family: Micrococcaceae.
  • Species: aureus.


  • Gk: staphyle - bunch of grapes; coccus - grain or berry; Latin: aureus - golden.

Active Forms

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Clinical Effects



  • Inhabits the distal nasal passages, external nares, and skin, especially near mucocutaneous borders such as the perineum, external genitalia and bovine udder.
  • May also transiently inhabit the gastrointestinal tract.


  • Reproduction by binary fission.


  • Spread by direct and indirect contact.
  • Many infections endogenous.
  • Rarely transmitted between species.

Pathological effects

  • Staphylococcus spp produce a number of toxins and enzymes → variety of clinical syndromes, eg epidermolytic toxins in porcine exudative epidermitis (due toS. hyicus) and alpha toxin (hemolysin) is associated with gangrenous mastitis in cattle.
  • Pyogenic → abscess formation.
  • No lasting immunity after recovery.
  • Wounds, burns, chronic debilitating disease and foreign body, eg suture → deep-seated invasive disease.
  • Endogenous or exogenous infection → suppurative conditions (in cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, poultry, rabbits, dogs and cats).

Other Host Effects

  • Same as Staphylococcus spp Staphylococcus spp.
  • Colonizes skin and mucous membranes of mammalian species.


Control via chemotherapies

  • Penicillin (for sensitive strains), cloxacillin, macrolides Therapeutics: antimicrobial drug , tetracycline Tetracycline.
  • Many strains are resistant to penicillin and tetracycline. Penicillinase-resistant penicillins, cephalosporins, chloramphenicol usually effective.
  • Methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus have been isolated from horses; molecular typing suggests that these differ from human strains.


  • None commercially available.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hoekstra K A & Paulton R J (1996) Antibiotic sensitivity of Staphylococcus aureus and Staph. intermedius of canine and feline origin. Letters in Applied Microbiology 22 (3), 192-194 PubMed.
  • Cefai C, Ashurst S & Owens C (1994) Human carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus linked with pet dog. Lancet 344 (8921), 539-540 PubMed.