Equine

Research Abstract

E30 - Nasal Bacterial Microbiota of Adult Horses Shedding Equine Herpes Virus 1

Friday, June 15
2:45 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: WSCC 615

Bacterial and viral microbiotas often inhabit and share the same microenvironments, however, interest in their potential contribution in promoting health or disease has only recently gained attention. The objective of this study was to characterize the nasal bacterial microbiota of healthy horses (control) and horses shedding equine herpes virus-1 (EHV-1) using next generation sequencing technology.


The nasal bacterial microbiota of 10 EHV-1 and 10 control horses from a single farm experiencing an outbreak of EHV-1 was characterized using the Illumina MiSeq platform targeting the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. All EHV-1 horses had fever, limb edema and were positive on PCR of nasal swabs, within one week after the first case was confirmed EHV-1 positive. Control horses were animals from the same farm that showed no clinical signs during the outbreak and were negative for EHV-1 on PCR. 

Nasal bacterial microbiota of healthy and EHV-1 was significantly different in community membership (Jaccard index) and structure (Yu and Clayton index) (Parsimony and AMOVA; P < 0.05). Horses shedding EHV-1 had lower bacterial richness [Chao-1: median and (range) = 241 (139 – 348) vs. 366 (288 – 420)]; P = 0.0017), evenness (Shannoneven: 0.47 (0.1 – 0.6) vs. 0.6 (0.45 – 0.72)]; P < 0.008) and diversity (Inverse-Simpson: 4 (1.1 – 15) vs. 11 (3.5 – 31)]; P = 0.026) than control horses.  Healthy horses had higher relative abundance of Firmicutes (median: 36%) and Bacteroidetes (1%) than EHV-1 horses (20% and 0.3%, respectively) (P < 0.05).  Based on LefSe analysis, enriched phylotypes from control horses were predominantly from the phylum Firmicutes, whereas most phylotypes that were enriched EHV-1 infected horses were from Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria The genera Brachybacterium, Dietzia, Arthrobacter, Psychrobacter and Moraxella were significantly associated with shedding EHV-1, whereas 19 genera including Lactobacillus, and unclassified genera of the family Clostridiales and Lachnospiraceae were enriched in control horses.  



This study provides the basis for generation of hypotheses and investigations on the roles that bacterial-viral interactions play in health and diseases of adult horses.

Diego Gomez-Nieto, MV. MSc. MVSc. PhD. DACVIM (LAIM).

Clinical Assistant Professor
University of Florida

Dr. Gomez received his DVM degree from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2006. Dr. Gomez completed an internship at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada, in 2011 and his large animal internal medicine residency at the Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI, Canada, and became a board certified in 2014. Dr. Gomez completed his PhD program in veterinary infectious diseases at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Scott Weese. Dr. Gomez joined the faculty at the University of Florida in May 2017. His clinical expertise includes general internal medicine with a special interest in acid-base disorders in critically ill patients. His research interests include microbiome assestment of mammals and antimicrobial stewardship in food producing animals.

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