Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Synonym(s): P. aeruginosa

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Veronica Fowler




  • Family: pseudomonaceae.
  • Genus: pseudomonas.


  • Gk: pseudes-false; monas- a unit, alone.
  • Latin: aeruginosa- full of copper rust or verdigris, hence green.

Active Forms

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Clinical Effects



  • Ubiquitous in the environment, especially in damp, poorly ventilated areas.
  • May be carried in the intestinal tract of healthy animals.


  • Multiplies in environment by binary fission.
  • Non-spore-forming.


  • Infection may be endogenous or exogenous.
  • Invasion of the host usually occurs when defense mechanisms are breeched.

Pathological effects

  • Immunodeficiency, trauma and antibiotic therapy all predispose to infection with P. aeruginosa.
  • P. aeruginosa has pili → adherence to epithelial cells.
  • Exotoxins, endotoxin and extracellular products - all may play a role in pathogenesis.
  • Some strains have an antiphagocytic capsule.
  • Causes wide variety of infections in many species, eg mastitis in cattle, sheep and goats, metritis, ocular and respiratory infections in horses, otitis and cystitis in dogs, hemorrhagic pneumonia in mink and necrotic lesions in reptiles.

Other Host Effects

  • Widely found in the environment and as part of the normal flora of the gastrointestinal tract and mucous membranes of animals.


Control via animal

  • Strict hygiene.
  • Judicious use of antimicrobial therapy.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Drug resistance related to R factors is a problem.
  • Strains may be resistant to all systemic antibiotics routinely tested.
  • Usually susceptible to gentamicin Gentamicin, tobramycin, amikacin and carbenicillin, but antimicrobial susceptibility test recommended.
  • Tetracycline reaches bactericidal concentrations against P. aeruginosa in urine.

Control via environment

  • Clean, dry and disinfect fomites and hospital environments where immunocompromised animals are present.
  • Sources of contamination should be identified and removed.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Sela S, Hammer-Muntz O, Krifucks O, Pinto R, Weisblit L & Leitner G (2007) Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains isolated from mastitis outbreaks in dairy herds. J Dairy Res 74 (4), 425-9 PubMed.
  • Crossman P J & Hutchinson I (1995) Gangrenous mastitis associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Vet Rec 136 (21), 548 PubMed.
  • Kirk J H & Bartlett P C (1984) Nonclinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa mastitis in a dairy herd. J Am Vet Med Assoc 184 (6), 671-3 PubMed.