Objectives: There are concerns that the use of enrofloxacin in livestock production may contribute to the development of fluoroquinolone resistance in zoonotic bacteria. The objective of our study was to investigate the effect of a single 5 day enrofloxacin treatment on Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium DT104 in a pig model.
Results: Our results showed that a single treatment failed to eradicate S. Typhimurium DT104, which continued to be isolated up to 35 days after treatment. We also provide evidence that treatment positively selects for S. Typhimurium DT104 strains that are already nalidixic acid resistant (gyrA Asn-87) or cyclohexane resistant, the latter being indicative of an up-regulated efflux pump. Emergence of fluoroquinolone resistance was not detected during treatment or post-treatment in any of the Salmonella strains monitored. However, the effect of enrofloxacin on the nalidixic acid-resistant and cyclohexane-resistant S. Typhimurium DT104 outlasted the current withdrawal time of 10 days for Baytril (commercial veterinary formulation of enrofloxacin).
Conclusions: In conclusion, our study has provided direct evidence that enrofloxacin-treated pigs could be entering abattoirs with higher numbers of quinolone-resistant zoonotic bacteria than untreated pigs, increasing the risk of these entering the food chain.