Objective To identify the common serotypes and antimicrobial resistance patterns of Salmonella spp. associated with diarrhoea in Australian dairy calves under the age of 6 weeks.
Design Cross-sectional study.
Methods Faecal samples were collected from outbreaks of diarrhoea in dairy and dairy beef calves less than 6 weeks old. Samples were screened for Salmonella using standard enrichment culture techniques. The antimicrobial susceptibility to 12 commonly used veterinary and human antimicrobials was assessed using the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method and the susceptibility profiles of dairy and dairy beef properties were compared using Fisher's exact test.
Results Salmonella ser. Dublin, S. ser. Typhimurium and S. ser. Bovismorbificans were the three most common salmonella serotypes isolated. The majority of properties had one serotype. Most of the Salmonella isolates were not resistant to any of the antimicrobials tested. No resistance was seen to amikacin and nalidixic acid, and only one isolate was resistant to ceftiofur or amoxicillin-clavulanic acid. The most common antimicrobial resistance was to streptomycin, ampicillin or combination sulfonamides. Multi-drug resistance was detected in S. ser. Anatum, S. ser. Bovismorbificans, S. ser. Muenster, S. ser. Newport and S. ser. Typhimurium. Isolates from dairy beef properties were more likely to be resistant to ampicillin, kanamycin, neomycin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim and tetracycline (P < 0.05) and were more likely to exhibit multi-drug resistance.
Conclusion The prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella isolates from dairy calves in Australia is low compared with that reported overseas. From a human health perspective, resistance to antimicrobials used in the treatment of human salmonellosis was infrequent.