Longitudinal study of Clostridium difficile and antimicrobial susceptibility of Escherichia coli in healthy horses in a community setting

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Angelika Schoster, H. R. Staempfli, L. G. Arroyo, R. J. Reid-Smith, N. Janecko, P. E. Shewen, J. S. Weese

Point prevalence studies have reported carriage rates of enteric pathogens in healthy horses, but longitudinal data are lacking. Commensal E. coli is an indicator organism to evaluate antimicrobial resistance of enteric bacteria, yet there are limited data for horses. The objectives of this study were to investigate and molecularly characterize isolates of Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens and Salmonella, collected sequentially over a one year period, and to determine the antibiotic susceptibility profile for E. coli. Fecal samples were collected monthly from 25 adult horses for one year. Selective cultures were performed for all above bacteria. C. difficile isolates were characterized via PCR toxin gene profiling and ribotyping. Broth microdilution was performed to assess antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of E. coli. Toxigenic Clostridium difficile was isolated from 15/275 (5.45%) samples from 10/25 (40%) horses. Four horses were positive at multiple sampling times but different ribotypes were found in three. Ribotypes included 078 (n=6), 001 (n=6) and C (n=3). C. perfringens was not isolated, nor was Salmonella. E. coli was isolated from 232/300 (77%) fecal samples. Resistance to =1 and = 3 antimicrobials was present in 31/232 (13.4%) and 6/232 (2.6%) respectively. Only two horses shed the same strain of toxigenic C. difficile for more than one month, indicating that shedding is transient. The high number of ribotype 078 is consistent with recent emergence of this strain in the local horse population. The low prevalence of antibiotic resistance in commensal E. coli suggests that healthy horses are not likely a major reservoir of resistance for enteric bacteria.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Volume159
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)364-370
Number of pages7
ISSN0378-1135
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 40322230