Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Thomas Canam


The identification of ocular microbiota may allow early diagnosis and treatment strategies against eye diseases and disorders with canines. However, clinical microbial identification has been limited to cloning and conventional culture-based studies, which typically underestimate community diversity. In this report, lllumina MiSeq analysis of the 16S rRNA gene was used to examine the microbiome of the lacrimal caruncle region from five healthy dogs. The breeds sampled were a Golden Retriever (Dog A), a Weimaraner (Dog B), a Shih Tzu mix (Dog C), a Yorkie mix (Dog D), and a Dachshund (Dog E). MiSeq analysis revealed a total of 370 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) representing 79 families of bacteria. Generally, Dog A had the most unique bacterial profile in terms of families that were represented, with samples from this dog having contributions from families that were not observed above 2% of total OTUs in the other dogs. For example, the Oxalobacteraceae (Massilia spp.), Micrococcaceae (Arthrobacter spp.), and Enterobacteriaceae (Pantoea spp.) families were uniquely found in Dog A at levels above 2% of the total OTUs. Dogs A and B harbored very high percentages of Pseudomonadaceae (up to 65% in the right eye of Dog A), which was attributed entirely to the genus Pseudomonas. These dogs also had relatively high percentages of Moraxellaceae (up to 21% in the left eye of Dog A), which were almost entirely from the Psychrobacter and Acinetobacter genera. The microbiomes from Dog A and Dog B were similar with respect to the families present and their relative abundance, while the microbiomes of Dogs C, D, and E were more similar to each other. Overall, this study demonstrated the efficacy of lllumina's MiSeq technology as an inexpensive and facile tool for microbiome analysis of ocular bacteria in canines, and highlighted the potential for this technique to be used by veterinarians for clinical investigations.