Background: Antimicrobial resistance is increasing among Escherichia coli isolates associated with spontaneous infection in dogs and cats.
Objectives: To describe E. coli resistance phenotypes and clonal relatedness and their regional prevalence.
Animals: Isolates of E. coli (n = 376) collected from dogs and cats in the United States between May and September 2005.
Methods: Isolates submitted from the South, West, Northeast, and Midwest regions of the United States were prospectively studied. Phenotype was based on E-test susceptibility to 7 antimicrobials. Isolates were classified as no (NDR), single (SDR), or multidrug resistance (MDR). Clonal relatedness was determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
Results: One hundred and ninety-three (51%) isolates expressed resistance to at least 1 drug, yielding 42 phenotypes. SDR isolates (n = 84; 44%, 8 phenotypes), expressed resistance most commonly to amoxicillin (30%, n = 25) and least commonly to cefpodoxime (1%, n = 1). MDR isolates (n = 109; 56%, 31 phenotypes) were resistant to amoxicillin (96%, n = 105), amoxicillin-clavulanate (85%, n = 93), and enrofloxacin (64%, n = 70); 18% (n = 20) were resistant to all drugs tested. The frequency of MDR did not differ regionally (P = .066). MDR minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were 6-fold higher than SDR MICs (P < .0001). Dendrograms of 91 isolates representing 25 phenotypes revealed 62 different PFGE profiles.
Conclusions and clinical importance: E. coli strains spontaneously infecting dogs and cats are genetically and phenotypically diverse. Given the current prevalence of MDR among clinical isolates of E. coli in United States, implementation of a robust surveillance program is warranted.