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Keywords:

  • Dogs;
  • anti-microbial resistance;
  • generic Escherichia coli;
  • risk factors

Summary

Anti-microbial resistance can threaten health by limiting treatment options and increasing the risk of hospitalization and severity of infection. Companion animals can shed anti-microbial-resistant bacteria that may result in the exposure of other dogs and humans to anti-microbial-resistant genes. The prevalence of anti-microbial-resistant generic Escherichia coli in the faeces of dogs that visited dog parks in south-western Ontario was examined and risk factors for shedding anti-microbial-resistant generic E. coli identified. From May to August 2009, canine faecal samples were collected at ten dog parks in three cities in south-western Ontario, Canada. Owners completed a questionnaire related to pet characteristics and management factors including recent treatment with antibiotics. Faecal samples were collected from 251 dogs, and 189 surveys were completed. Generic E. coli was isolated from 237 of the faecal samples, and up to three isolates per sample were tested for anti-microbial susceptibility. Eighty-nine percent of isolates were pan-susceptible; 82.3% of dogs shed isolates that were pan-susceptible. Multiclass resistance was detected in 7.2% of the isolates from 10.1% of the dogs. Based on multilevel multivariable logistic regression, a risk factor for the shedding of generic E. coli resistant to ampicillin was attending dog day care. Risk factors for the shedding of E. coli resistant to at least one anti-microbial included attending dog day care and being a large mixed breed dog, whereas consumption of commercial dry and home cooked diets was protective factor. In a multilevel multivariable model for the shedding of multiclass-resistant E. coli, exposure to compost and being a large mixed breed dog were risk factors, while consumption of a commercial dry diet was a sparing factor. Pet dogs are a potential reservoir of anti-microbial-resistant generic E. coli; some dog characteristics and management factors are associated with the prevalence of anti-microbial-resistant generic E. coli in dogs.