Chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline, and the macrolide, tylosin, are extensively used for growth promotion and disease prophylaxis in the cattle and swine industries in the US. Arcanobacterium pyogenes, a common inhabitant of the mucosal surfaces of cattle and swine, is also a pathogen associated with a variety of infections in these animals. A broth microdilution technique was used to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility of 48 A. pyogenes isolates to macrolides, lincosamides and tetracyclines. The MIC50 and MIC90 for chlortetracycline were 0.12 and 8 mg/l, respectively. Similarly, the MIC50 and MIC90 for oxytetracycline were 0.25 and 8 mg/l, while the MIC50 and MIC90 for tetracycline were 0.25 and 16 mg/l, respectively. The MIC50 and the MIC90 were < or = 0.06 and >64 mg/l, respectively, for erythromycin, tylosin and clindamycin. This resistance pattern indicated that some of these A. pyogenes isolates may carry an MLS(B) resistance determinant. A. pyogenes isolates (12.5%) were resistant to erythromycin, and this percentage doubled when MICs were performed following induction with erythromycin. Of the 48 A. pyogenes isolates, 25 and 41.7% were resistant to MLS(B) antimicrobial agents and the tetracycline derivatives, respectively. MLS(B) resistance was present in 22.2 and 35.3% of A. pyogenes isolates of bovine (n=27) or porcine (n=17) origin. In contrast, 70.6% of porcine isolates were resistant to the tetracyclines, compared with 25.9% of bovine isolates. These data suggest that a large proportion of A. pyogenes field isolates may be resistant to these commonly used antimicrobial agents.