Misuse of Antimicrobials and Selection of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius Strains in Breeding Kennels: Genetic Characterization of Bacteria After a Two-year Interval


Author’s address (for correspondence): A Rota, Dipartimento di Patologia Animale, Università di Torino, via Leonardo da Vinci 44, 10090 Grugliasco (TO) Italy. E-mail: ada.rota@unito.it


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) strains have been isolated from dogs with increasing frequency; prolonged or excessive use of antimicrobials is associated with the selection of MRSP, and misuse of antimicrobials is frequent in breeding kennels. This study was carried out in two breeding kennels (A and B) in which we had isolated MRSP in 2008: the aim was to assess colonization of previously positive bitches and of other bitches sharing the same environment and to assess the genetic profile of both the old and the new strains [spa typing, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing and Pulsed-field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE)]. Six animals from Kennel A (two from 2008) and eight from Kennel B (one from 2008) were tested: 16 MRSP strains were isolated only from bitches housed in Kennel B. Old and new isolates were mecA positive, resulted spa type t02 and carried SSCmec II–III. PGFE showed that all isolates were related and belonged to the main clone lineage dominating in Europe, ST71-J-t02-II–III. Kennels A and B differ in the use of antimicrobials, which has been reduced over time in Kennel A, while has remained excessive in Kennel B, where many agents belonging to different classes (third-generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, macrolids) are administered to dogs, without veterinary supervision, especially around parturition. Misuse of antimicrobials is the key factor for the selection of MRSP strains in healthy dogs and for their persistence over time. Dog breeders should be aware that infections caused by multiresistant bacteria have very limited therapeutical options and represent a huge challenge for animal health.