• Antibiotic susceptibilityl;
  • Caninel;
  • Polymerase chain reactionl;
  • Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis

Persistent Escherichia coli urinary tract infection (UTI) in dogs is a frustrating clinical problem. Affected dogs often appear to fail to respond to therapy or to reacquire infection shortly after therapy is completed. Urovirulence factors (UVFs) of the infecting E coli, antibiotic resistance, and tissue colonization may be contributory but have not been evaluated in dogs with persistent E coli UTI. In this study, the strain types of E coli in dogs with persistent UTI were evaluated with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to determine whether persistence was due to acquisition of new isolates or failure to eradicate existing isolates. UVFs in these isolates, assessed by polymerase chain reaction, and antibiograms were correlated with treatment outcome in these dogs. Results documented a mixed pattern: 9 dogs remained chronically infected with 1 or 2 strains, each with distinct reproducible UVFs, but 1 dog was infected with numerous unrelated E coli strains over time. Two dogs had a mixed pattern, consisting of 1 or more episodes of persistent E coli infection attributable to a single strain in addition to episodes caused by unrelated strains. Many isolates had no detectable UVFs, highlighting the likely importance of impaired colonization resistance in the affected dogs. Antibiotic resistance was common, often in response to previous treatments, especially with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Antibiotic resistance patterns differed significantly within PFGE strain types, suggesting lateral acquisition of resistance plasmids or integrons. These results can be used to help guide testing for and management of persistent E coli UTI in dogs.