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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project


Biological Sciences


Cytophaga, Dogs as carriers of disease, Dental plaque, Bites and stings-Physiological aspects, Capnocytophaga, Canimorsus, Plaque, Oral microbiota pathogenicity, Canine, Dog, Bite wounds


Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a potentially pathogenic microorganism when transmitted to humans from the oral cavity of canines. Other current research focuses on the virulence factors associated with the pathogen and on determining its prevalence in canines. The frequency in canines is largely unknown and so the aim of this study was to clarify these discrepancies as well as elucidate any potential traits that correlate with its presence or absence. Samples from a total of 131 canines were collected from Animal Health Care, Martha's Vineyard, cultured for potential isolates, and tested using physiological and molecular analyses to help discern the presence of C. canimorsus. Phylogenetic and BLASTn analyses determined that 49.2% of canines sampled carried a species of Capnocytophaga and 21.7% of the canines sampled in this study carried C. canimorsus. Statistical analyses found that male dogs and those that are neutered and spayed are more likely to host Capnocytophaga species. The data also show that breed was a statistically significant predictor of having C. canimorsus, with the smaller breeds more likely to carry the potential pathogen. In addition, three "human" species of Capnocytophaga; C. ochracea, C. haemolytica, and one isolate either C. gingivalis or C. granulosa were cultured from five canines. Sixteen canines sampled carried an unidentified Capnocytophaga species all forming a well-defined phylogenetic clade with 100% bootstrap support that likely represents a new species of Capnocytophaga. These data are significant they are the first to discover traits associated with the presence of Capnocytophaga species, to successfully culture the greatest variety of Capnocytophaga species, to culture a potentially new species of Capnocytophaga, and to culture "human"-associated species in canines.




111 p. : ill. (some col.) Honors Project-Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 91-95)