This study was performed to investigate the prevalence of rectal colonization with multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli in dogs hospitalized at veterinary hospitals in Korea and to assess the molecular epidemiologic traits of this organism. A total of 63 unique E. coli isolates obtained from the rectal swabs of hospitalized dogs were analyzed. Genes encoding CTX-M extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and AmpC enzymes were detected in 21 (33.3%) and 15 (23.8%) canine E. coli isolates, respectively. Twelve canine E. coli isolates harbored both the genes encoding the CTX-M and AmpC enzymes. Six ESBL-producing E. coli isolates also carried the rmtB gene. All 24 E. coli isolates producing CTX-M ESBL and/or CMY-2 were resistant to ciprofloxacin. Furthermore, mutations were found in the gyrA and the parC genes. In most cases, the bla genes of the CTX-M ESBL and AmpC enzymes and the rmtB gene were localized to incompatibility group F (IncF) plasmids. Possible small clonal outbreaks are suggested because some E. coli isolates recovered in the same veterinary hospital were identified as identical sequence types and showed identical banding patterns in repetitive sequence-based polymerase chain reaction. The horizontal transfer of IncF plasmids and the clonal transfer of E. coli strains are suggested to play a role in the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance genes, and this transfer may occur across host species (i.e., between humans and dogs).
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