Possible occurrence of neonatal mortality within 2-3 days following birth (in very weak and moribund puppies).
Recurrent vaginitis, infertility, reduced size of litters, abortions and premature births have been reported by some authors.
Inflammatory infection of some genital organs (balanoposthitis, urethritis, prostatitis, orchitis, etc.) and diminished fertility may be observed.
Mycoplasmas, the smallest free-living micro-organisms – were described in dog's genital organs more than forty years ago. The role they play in male and female infertility however remains unclear.
Mycoplasma canis and Ureaplasma urealyticum are the genital mycoplasmas most commonly isolated in female dogs. The bacteria can be isolated from both healthy dogs and dogs suffering from reproduction disorders.
Ureaplasmas are more often found in dogs suffering from reproduction disorders.
Causes and transmission .....
Mycoplasmal micro-organisms are very resistant in the outer environment. Contamination therefore occurs by direct contact, and especially by sexual route. Transmission may also occur by the respiratory (muzzle contact, sniffing) or transplacental route.
Mycoplasmas are pathogenic provided a quantitative threshold has been reached. According to recent studies, reproduction disorders can be attributable to
mycoplasmas if mycoplasmal concentration is greater than 106 CFU/ml. Mycoplasmal involvement still is possible at concentrations of 104-106
CFU/ml but unlikely below 104 CFU/ml.
Association of mycoplasmas with other pathogens in the event of immunosuppression has been demonstrated in other animal species.
Collection of samples to test for mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas. Samples, in suitable transportation medium, must be posted as soon as possible (within 24 hours) to a specialist laboratory for examinations.
Test for mycoplasmas in vaginal swabs (females), sperm swabs (males) or different organs (liver and spleen mainly) in newborn puppies. The placenta may also harbour incidental
mycoplasmas, transmission having occurred at the time of birth during vaginal passage of puppies.
Serological testing is not applicable.
Neither mycoplasmas nor ureaplasmas are very sensitive to certain antibiotics such as macrolides and tetracyclins (resistance is observed in 2-10% of cases).
Josamycin, erythromycin, fluoroquinolones (marbofloxacin, enrofloxacin) are the best suited antibiotics.
Antibiotic therapy should last a minimum of 15 days, and recovery should be confirmed 15 days later by tests for mycoplasmas in the laboratory.
Prevention and control recommends the use of artificial insemination and isolation of whelping females or females having lost a litter.
In breeding facilities, it is recommended not to administer antibiotics without prior evidence of mycoplasmal contamination, which would cause imbalance of intestinal flora and bacterial resistance.