Characterization of the urinary microbiome in healthy dogs

Erin N. Burton, Leah A. Cohn, Carol N. Reinero, Hans Rindt, Stephen G. Moore, Aaron C. Ericsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The urinary bladder in healthy dogs has dogmatically been considered free of bacteria. This study used culture independent techniques to characterize the healthy canine urinary microbiota. Urine samples collected by antepubic cystocentesis from dogs without urinary infection were used for DNA extraction. Genital tract and rectal samples were collected simultaneously from the same dogs. The V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA bacterial gene was amplified and compared against Greengenes database for OTU assignment and relative abundance for urine, genital, and rectal samples. After excluding 4 dogs with cultivable bacteria, samples from 10 male (M; 1 intact) and 10 female (F) spayed dogs remained. All samples provided adequate genetic material for analysis. Four taxa (Pseudomonas sp., Acinetobacter sp., Sphingobium sp. and Bradyrhizobiaceae) dominated the urinary microbiota in all dogs of both sexes. These taxa were also detected in the genital swabs of both sexes, while the rectal microbiota differed substantially from the other sample sites. Principal component (PC) analysis of PC1 through PC3 showed overlap of urinary and genital microbiota and a clear separation of rectal swabs from the other sample sites along PC1, which explained 44.94% variation. Surprisingly, the urinary microbiota (mean # OTU 92.6 F, 90.2 M) was significantly richer than the genital (67.8 F, 66.6 M) or rectal microbiota (68.3 F, 71.2 M) (p < 0.0001), with no difference between sexes at any sample site. The canine urinary bladder is not a sterile environment and possesses its own unique and diverse microbiota compared to the rectal and genital microbiota. There was no difference between the sexes at any microbiota sample site (urine, genital, and rectal). The predominant bacterial genus for either sex in the urine and genital tracts was Pseudomonas sp.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0177783
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Burton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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