Acta Vet. Brno 2006, 75: 91-98

Gastric Helicobacter-like Organisms in Stray Cats

S. D. Erginsoy, M. Sözmen, K. Özcan

Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Kafkas, Kars, Turkey

Received May 25, 2005
Accepted March 16, 2006

Ten adult domestic shorthaired stray cats (Felis catus) were investigated for the presence and localization of different species of gastric Helicobacter-like organisms (GHLOs) using Warthin-Starry silver staining, immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy (TEM); the severity and distribution of lesions in different regions of the stomach were assessed in HE-stained sections. GHLOs were present in all areas of the stomach in all of 10 cats. Three morphologically different types of spiral-shaped bacteria were demonstrated; in silver-stained sections, H. pylori like organisms (HPLO) were easily differentiated from other GHLOs. Eight of the cats had H. heilmannii-like organisms (HHLOs) and one cat had HPLO. Mixed H. heilmannii and H. felis infection was seen in only one cat. GHLO infection was associated with a mild to severe gastritis in 8 of 10 cats. GHLOs colonized the cardia, corpus and antrum in similar density. The most striking histopathological changes consisted of accumulation of lymphocytes and neutrophilic granulocytes, fibrosis of the lamina propria mucosae, lymphoid follicles and lymphocytic infiltrates. There was no obvious relation between the degree of colonization by GHLOs and the extent of histopathological changes. GHLOs were present on the mucosal surface, in the lumen of gastric glands, and in the cytoplasm of parietal cells. These findings indicate that immunohistochemistry and silver staining are useful for detecting GHLO infections, particularly with different Helicobacter species present. Stray cats are frequently colonized by HHLOs without any significant correlation between the degree of infection and gastritis score; in contrast HPLOs and HFLOs infections are not very common.