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Identification of bacteria present in ulcerative stomatitis lesions of captive sea turtles Chelonia mydas


Anthropogenic activities, predation, and diseases have contributed to a decrease in the sea turtle population in recent years. Ulcerative stomatitis is a condition that occurs in both wild and captive populations. The etiology of this condition is associated with bacteria such as E. coli, Citrobacter diversus, Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas spp., Flavobacter calcoaceticus, Staphylococcus spp., and Flavobacterium spp. Some of these microorganisms are part of the oral microbiota of turtles, but alterations in the immune response can disturb the homeostatic relationship and cause an increase in the population of microorganisms, which in turn can cause disease. This work presents results on the isolation and identification of bacteria present in ulcerative stomatitis lesions in captive C. mydas turtles. Oral mucosa samples from 20 clinically healthy turtles and ten animals with ulcerative stomatitis lesions were studied. The samples were cultivated in enriched and differential media, and the identification was made using an automated method. The results showed a great diversity of bacteria in animals with ulcerative stomatitis with a higher prevalence of S. lentus and C. braakii was higher (60 and 50%, respectively) than in healthy animals. E. faecium was identified in 40% of diseased animals and 55% healthy animals. Turtles in this study had a diverse oral microbiota, and S. lentus and C. braakii may be involved in the etiopathogenesis of ulcerative stomatitis.

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The authors thank the staff of the Sea Turtle Department of Xcaret Park and Microbiology Lab of Facultad de Agronomía-Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí y Veterinaria and Facultad de Medicina-Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The work was funded in part by the Support for the Preliminary Registration of Cuerpos Académicos UASLP P-FCUPIA 2011–24–01-03.

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Correspondence to F. A. Muñoz-Tenería.

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Vega-Manriquez, D.X., Dávila-Arrellano, R.P., Eslava-Campos, C.A. et al. Identification of bacteria present in ulcerative stomatitis lesions of captive sea turtles Chelonia mydas. Vet Res Commun 42, 251–254 (2018).

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  • C. mydas
  • Ulcerative stomatitis
  • Turtles
  • Infection bacterial