Treponema spp

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Treponema spp under light microscopy[1]

Treponema spp are a Gram-negative, aerobic spirochaete normally found in the oropharynx and gastrointestinal tract of cats[2].

Species which are important to cats include:

  • T. hyodysenteriae[3]
  • T. innocens[4]
  • T. maltophilum
  • T. socranskii

Although these bacteria are normally nonpathogenic to cats, they have been associated with periodontitis, and zoonotic bite wounds to humans.

Other oropharyneal-dwelling bacteria are considered more pathogenic, such as Porphyromonas spp, Capnocytophaga spp, Prevotella spp, Aggregatibacter spp, Tannerella spp, Campylobacter spp and Eikenella spp[5].


  1. Science Commons
  2. Valdez M et al (2000) Isolation of oral spirochetes from dogs and cats and provisional identification using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis specific for human plaque Treponema spp. J Vet Dent 17(1):23-26
  3. Lemcke RM & Burrows MR (1979) A disc growth-inhibition test for differentiating Treponema hyodysenteriae from other intestinal spirochaetes. Vet Rec 104(24):548-551
  4. Weber A & Schramm R (1989) The occurrence of Treponema in fecal samples from dogs and cats with and without intestinal diseases. Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr 102(3):73-77
  5. Yamasaki Y et al (2012) Distribution of periodontopathic bacterial species in dogs and their owners. Arch Oral Biol 57(9):1183-1188