ISSN 2398-2985      

Chlamydiosis

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Chlamydophilosis, Chlamydia conjunctivitis, Chlamydia (Chlamydophila) caviae, GPIC, Guinea pig inclusion conjunctivitis


Introduction

  • Cause: Chlamydia caviae (in some literature listed as Chlamydophila caviae), Gram-obligate intracellular bacterium. Note: taxonomy/nomenclature has changed numerous times.
  • Signs: conjunctival irritation and inflammation, blepharitis, serous to purulent discharge, photophobia. May occur concurrently with keratitis. Purulent discharge needs to be distinguished from the milky white ocular secretion naturally produced by guinea pigs and normally used for eye lubrication and face grooming.
  • Diagnosis: conjunctival scrapings showing intracytoplasmic inclusions, PCR on conjunctival swabs or scrapings, bacterial cultures.
  • Treatment: may be self-limiting within 3-4 weeks if C. caviae. But, usually treat due to zoonotic potential: topical tetracycline ophthalmic ointment. Doxycycline may need to be considered to ensure the infectious agents does not persist in the nasopharynx.
  • Prognosis: good although may carry even after clinical signs are eliminated.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Chlamydia caviae is the primary infectious cause of guinea pig inclusion conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis.
  • Older texts list Chlamydia psittaci as a cause.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Stress.
  • Foreign body, eg hay awn.
  • Dust from poor quality hay.

Specific

  • Age stress: 1-3 week old.
  • Breeding animals.

Pathophysiology

  • C. caviae is typical of Chlamydial organisms. It has elementary bodies and reticulate bodies.
  • The elementary body infects a conjunctival epithelial cell by attaching to its surface. The reticulate body initiates metabolic processes within the cell.
  • The elementary bodies fuse with each other within the cell causing intracytoplasmic inclusions.
  • In the cell the elementary bodies are converted to reticulate bodies and replicate by binary fission.
  • The reticulate bodies insert proteins into the inclusion membrane of the host cell.
  • This disruption of epithelial cells in the conjunctiva results in the clinical signs seen.
  • There is infiltration with numerous heterophils.
  • Corneal and scleral calcification may occur with or without simultaneous mineralization elsewhere.

Timecourse

  • Usually rapid as it is passed from adult to juvenile and signs seen as early as 1 week of age.
  • C. caviae can be self-limiting within 3-4 weeks.

Epidemiology

  • Adults may be asymptomatic for C. caviae but infect juveniles.
  • C. caviae has been found in the conjunctiva of rabbits, cats, and humans in homes with infected guinea pigs.
  • C. caviae transmission is primarily venereal with neonates infected at birth.
  • As C. caviae infections may be found in guinea pigs placed in stressful and/or crowded situations such as in a pet store, it is possible that direct contact may be a mode of transmission.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Belij-Rammerstorfer S, Inic-Kanada A, Stojanovic M et al (2016) Infectious dose and repeated infections are key factors influencing immune response characteristics in guinea pig ocular chlamydial infection. Microbes Infect 18 (4), 254-62 PubMed.
  • Fisher D J, Adams N E & Maurelli A T (2015) Phosphoproteomic analysis of the Chlamydia caviae elementary body and reticulate body forms. Microbiol 161 (8), 1648–1658 PubMed.
  • Williams D L & Sullivan A (2010) Ocular disease in the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus): a survey of 1000 animals. Vet Ophthal 13, 54–6 PubMed.
  • Minarikova A, Hauptman K, Jeklova E, Knotek Z & Jekl V (2015) Diseases in pet guinea pigs: a retrospective study in 1000 animals. Vet Rec PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3d edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.
  • Van der Woerdt A (2012) Opthalmologic Diseases of Small Pet Mammals. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3d edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 523-531.
  • Williams D L (2012) The Guinea Pig Eye. In: Ophthalmology of Exotic Pets. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 56-72.
  • Harkness J E, Turner P V, VandeWoude S & Wheler C L (2010) Harkness and Wagner's Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents. 5th edn. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 138.
  • Johnson-Delaney C (2010) Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, Degus and Duprasi. In: BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets. 5th edn. Eds: Meredith A & Johnson-Delaney C. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 28-62.
  • Montiani-Ferreira F (2009) Rodents: Ophthalmology. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E and Meredith A. British Small Animal Veterinary Association, UK. pp 169-180.
  • Hrapkiewicz K & Medina L (2007) Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine an introduction. 3rd edn. Blackwell Publishing. pp 168-169.

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