Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common, gram-negative, motile, rod shaped bacterium. It can cause significant disease in poultry as an opportunistic pathogen. It is ubiquitous in nature, and is able to thrive in a wide variety of environments and nutrient sources, including both aerobic and anaerobic growth.
P. aeruginosa is most abundant in various types of moist environments, such as soil and water. It is also frequently found in water hoses, sinks and showers, natural water sources (lakes, streams, rivers), hot tubs, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Birds most at risk of P. aeruginosa infection are those with suppressed immune systems, especially those with low white blood cell counts. However, even healthy birds can acquire an infection if the bacterium gets into their bloodstream through a break in the epithelium due to trauma, and/or the bacterium is present in sufficiently large numbers.
P. aeruginosa manifests often as an ocular infection, respiratory infection, ear infection, surgical site infection, burn sepsis, skin and soft tissue infections, including folliculitis and osteomyelitis.
P. aeruginosa infection can be difficult to treat, because the bacterium is resistant to commonly used antimicrobial agents. The antibiotics most often used include ceftazidime, cefepime, aminoglycosides (amikacinm, tobramycin, gentamicin), fluoroquinolones (Baytril), and extended-spectrum penicillins (piperacillin, ticarcillin).