Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Klebsiella pneumoniae

Synonym(s): K. pneumoniae

Contributor(s): Susan Dawson




  • Family: Enterobacteriaceae.
  • Genus:Klebsiella.
  • Species: pneumoniae.


  • Klebsiella: named after T A E Klebs (1834-1913) - German bacteriologist.
  • pneumoniae: Greek: pneuma- wind, breath.

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Clinical Effects



  • Widespread in environment.
  • Colonizes mucous membranes, especially of gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts.


  • Direct or indirect contact.
  • Many infections endogenous.
  • Often nosocomial infections.

Pathological effects

  • Opportunistic infections develop at immunocompromized sites.
  • K. pneumonia is a common cause of nosocomial infections.
  • Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide), consists of polysaccharide antigens and Lipid A, the toxic moiety   →   internalized by host cells   →   stimulates secretion of inflammatory mediators   →   endotoxemia.
  • Some strains produce exotoxins.
  • Cats: associated with urinary tract infections Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), and genital infections Infectious infertility in the female. Also isolated from the urogenital tract of healthy cats.
  • Dogs: hepatic, urogenital, intestinal and wound infections.
  • Horses: associated with placentitis, metritis, peritonitis and cholangiohepatitis in horses.
  • Cattle: mastitis; associated with bedding on sawdust.

Other Host Effects

  • Colonizes mucous membranes of healthy individuals, particularly in gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts.


Control via animal

  • Hygiene, especially in veterinary hospitals.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Antibiotic susceptibility testing should be carried out; transferable resistance (carried by R plasmids) is common, eg to gentamicin.
  • Uniformly resistant to ampicillin Ampicillin.

Control via environment

  • Hygiene, especially in veterinary hospitals.
  • Susceptible to common disinfectants.


  • None available.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Clemetson L L & Ward A C (1990) Bacterial flora of the vagina and uterus of healthy cats. JAVMA 196 (6), 902-906 PubMed.