Dr Antony Clark, Mike Wertheim, Tim Oldfield, Geoffery C Lam
To describe the typical microbial flora found on the beaks of Australian magpies and therefore guide antimicrobial choice in magpie related eye injuries.
Swabs were taken by a single verterinarian from the beaks of 50 injured Australian Magpies brought to the Kanyana Wildlife rehabilitation Centre in the Perth hills area of Western Australia between June 2009 and March 2011. All swabs were sent to a single specialist Veterinary pathology laboratory where wet microscopy, gram staining and aerobic culture was performed.
A total of 48 swabs (96%) grew bacteria on aerobic culture. The most common bacteria identified included Staphyloccocus sp (55%), Enterococcus sp (53%), Escherichia Coli Sp (45%), Enterobacter Sp (24%) and Corynebacterirum Spp (18%). Twenty-four (50%) samples were polymicrobial with at least 3 strains of bacteria grown. Fungal elements were noted on microscopy in one sample (2%), however none were cultured.
Staphylococci and the enteric bacteria are ubiquitous on the beaks of Australian magpies. We would recommend the use of broad-spectrum antimi-crobial covering gram-positive and gram-negative bac-teria when treating magpie related eye injuries.