Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Proteus spp

Synonym(s): P. mirabilis, P. vulgaris

Contributor(s): Richard Walker




  • Genus: Proteus.
  • Family: Enterobacteriaceae.


  • Gk: Proteus- an ocean god able to change himself into different shapes; Lat: mirabilis- wonderful; vulgaris- common.

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Clinical Effects



  • Part of normal flora of gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts, and skin.


  • Multiplies by binary fission.
  • May undergo conjugation with other Enterobactericeae, with transfer of plasmoids.


  • Endogenous or exogenous infections.

Pathological effects

  • Compromise of immune system   →   opportunistic infections.
  • Trauma   →   opportunistic infection   →   pathogenic.


  • Urinary tract infection Cystitis: bacterial - dogs, cats and horses. Also found in urine of healthy horses.
  • Infections of genital tract, eg epididymitis in horses.
  • Diarrhea in young animals.
  • Otitis externa Otitis externa - dogs and cats, often as a component of mixed infections.
  • Occasionally isolated from cases of respiratory tract disease - horses.
  • More common in foals.

Other Host Effects

  • Part of normal gastrointestinal flora.
  • Part of normal skin flora in some dogs and cats.
  • Part of normal flora of urogenital tract in some horses.


Control via chemotherapies


  • To a range of antibiotics, including beta-lactams, potentiated sulfonamides Trimethoprim and cephalosporins Cefalexin.
  • Equine isolates more typically susceptible to amikacin Amikacin than gentamycin Gentamicin.


  • A problem, as with all enterobacteria.


  • None.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Krogh H V, Kristensen S (1981) A study of skin diseases in dogs and cats. VI. Microflora of the major canine pyodermas. Nord Vet Med 33 (1), 17-22 PubMed.
  • Wooley R E, Blue J L (1976) Quantitative and bacteriological studies of urine specimens from canine and feline urinary tract infections. J Clin Microbiol (4), 326-329 PubMed.
  • Krogh H V, Kristensen S (1976) A study of skin diseases in dogs and cats. II. Microflora of the normal skin of dogs and cats. Nord Vet Med 28 (9), 459-463 PubMed.