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Culture of P. multocida
Pasteurellosis is caused by Pasteurella multocida, a small, gram-negative, bipolar staining, ovoid rod that produces an endotoxin. Most isolates form circular, convex, smooth white colonies on dextrose starch or blood agar, as seen on this image. Most isolates have capsules. Capsular types A and D occur in rabbits, and Somatic (O) antigenic types 3 and 12 are the most common. Virulence ranges from benign to highly pathogenic, and is not strictly correlated with antigenic type.