Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a critical health problem, with systemic antimicrobial therapy driving development of AMR across the host spectrum.
This study compares longitudinal carriage, at multiple timepoints, of AMR faecal Escherichia coli in dogs undergoing routine antimicrobial treatment.
Faecal samples (n = 457) from dogs (n = 127) were examined pretreatment, immediately after treatment and 1 month and 3 months post-treatment with one of five antimicrobials. Isolates were tested for susceptibility to a range of antimicrobials using disc diffusion for each treatment group at different timepoints; the presence/absence of corresponding resistance genes was investigated using PCR assays. The impact of treatment group/timepoint and other risk factors on the presence of resistance [MDR, fluoroquinolone resistance, third-generation cephalosporin resistance (3GCR) and ESBL and AmpC production] was investigated using multilevel modelling. Samples with at least one AMR E. coli from selective/non-selective agar were classed as positive. Resistance was also assessed at the isolate level, determining the abundance of AMR from non-selective culture.
Treatment with β-lactams or fluoroquinolones was significantly associated with the detection of 3GCR, AmpC-producing, MDR and/or fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli, but not ESBL-producing E. coli, immediately after treatment. However, 1 month post-treatment, only amoxicillin/clavulanate was significantly associated with the detection of 3GCR; there was no significant difference at 3 months post-treatment for any antimicrobial compared with pretreatment samples.
Our findings demonstrated that β-lactam and fluoroquinolone antibiotic usage is associated with increased detection of important phenotypic and genotypic AMR faecal E. coli following routine therapy in vet-visiting dogs. This has important implications for veterinary and public health in terms of antimicrobial prescribing and biosecurity protocols, and dog waste disposal.