Bordetella bronchiseptica (B. bronchiseptica) is associated with respiratory tract infections in laboratory animals. In our laboratory animal facility, B. bronchiseptica was isolated from 21 of 27 apparently healthy rabbits obtained from a breeding farm contaminated with B. bronchiseptica. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis showed that the flagellin genotype of isolates from the laboratory animal facility and breeding farm was type A, which is seen relatively frequently in rabbits in Europe. To examine its pathogenicity, guinea pigs, rats, and mice were inoculated intranasally with a representative strain isolated in the laboratory animal facility. Following inoculation of 107 colony forming unit (cfu), severe inflammation was observed in the lungs of guinea pig and mice, although the inflammation was less severe in rats. The strain was recovered from the trachea and lungs of these species after inoculation with lower dose such as 103 or 104 cfu. These results suggest that the isolated strain causes respiratory tract infection in guinea pigs, rats, and mice, and that its pathogenicity higher in mice than in rats. This study extends our knowledge of interpreting the microbiologic status of laboratory animals, which will contribute to the development of reliable and reproducible animal experiments.
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