Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) is the most frequently isolated opportunistic pathogen of horses: associated with inflammatory airway disease in Thoroughbred racehorses, uterine infections in mares and ulcerative keratitis. It is also associated with disease in a wide range of other animals including cattle, sheep, pigs, monkeys and humans. Recently, several cases of acute fatal haemorrhagic pneumonia in dogs have been attributed to S. zooepidemicus infection.
Research at the Animal Health Trust is focused on understanding the diversity of S. zooepidemicus strains to identify particular genes associated with disease in horses (respiratory disease and abortion), dogs (acute fatal haemorrhagic pneumonia), ruminants (mastitis) and humans. This is being achieved through the use of DNA typing schemes and next generation sequencing. The aim of this research is to develop new diagnostic tests and vaccines for the improvement of animal health.