Monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in healthy dogs: first report of canine ampicillin-resistant Enterococcus faecium clonal complex 17

Vet Microbiol. 2008 Nov 25;132(1-2):190-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.04.026. Epub 2008 Apr 24.


National surveillance programs on antimicrobial usage and antimicrobial resistance in animals have been established in various countries but few of them include bacteria from pets. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in healthy dogs and to search for resistance phenotypes of clinical relevance. Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. were isolated from faecal swabs obtained from 127 dogs. Disk diffusion was used to measure antimicrobial susceptibility in 117 Escherichia coli, 10 Enterococcus faecium and 51 Enterococcus faecalis of canine origin. Resistance was relatively low compared with food animal species in Denmark. All Escherichia coli isolates were susceptible to broad-spectrum aminopenicillins, third generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. Despite the low prevalence of resistance, statistical analysis of questionnaire data revealed a significant association (p=0.02) between recent antimicrobial treatment and resistance in Escherichia coli. Interestingly, two dogs were found to shed Enterococcus faecium resistant to ampicillin. Multilocus sequence typing of these isolates indicated that the two isolates belonged to sequence types associated with human nosocomial infections, and one (ST-192) was genetically related to human epidemic clonal complex 17. The detection of ampicillin-resistant Enterococcus faecium warrants further studies on the prevalence of these bacteria in dogs and on the possible implications to both animal and human health. The results suggest that distinct methods for detection and assessment of antimicrobial resistance in animals should be considered depending on the target animal species and the purposes of the study.

MeSH terms

  • Ampicillin / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carrier State / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dog Diseases / microbiology
  • Dogs
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Enterococcus faecium / drug effects*
  • Enterococcus faecium / genetics
  • Enterococcus faecium / isolation & purification
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / veterinary
  • Prevalence


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ampicillin