Carriage rate and antibiotic susceptibility of coagulase-positive staphylococci isolated from healthy dogs in Victoria, Australia

Aust Vet J. 2016 Dec;94(12):456-460. doi: 10.1111/avj.12528. Epub 2016 Nov 1.


Background: Studies in Australia and elsewhere have shown high levels of antibiotic resistance in coagulase-positive staphylococci in dogs visiting veterinary clinics with pyoderma and related conditions. Although important, such studies tend to overestimate the burden of resistance. The aim of the current study was to investigate the prevalence of coagulase-positive staphylococci in healthy dogs in Central Victoria to assess the level of antibiotic resistance among these isolates.

Methods: We recruited 117 healthy dogs into the study. Swabs were taken at four sites (ear, mouth, nose, perineum) and staphylococcal species identified and isolated using culture and biochemical techniques.

Results: Staphylococcus pseudintermedius and S. aureus were recovered from 100 and 17 dogs, respectively; 15 dogs were simultaneously co-colonised with both organisms. The mouth and perineum were the most sensitive sites for recovery of these organisms. The most commonly encountered resistances were penicillin (95.2% and 72.4% in S. aureus and S. pseudintermedius, respectively) and doxycycline/tetracycline (19.7% in S. pseudintermedius). No methicillin-resistant S. aureus were recovered, but two phenotypically methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) isolates were recovered, although only one was PCR-positive for the mecA gene. Notably the MRSP isolate was multidrug resistant, as it also exhibited resistance to mupirocin and erythromycin.

Conclusion: With the exception of penicillin, doxycycline and tetracycline, the level of resistance to the antimicrobial agents tested was minimal. Prudent antibiotic use in treating companion animals with skin infections will reduce the selection of MRSP and other multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Keywords: antimicrobial resistance; dogs; pyoderma.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dogs / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Ear / microbiology
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Nose / microbiology
  • Perineum / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / veterinary*
  • Staphylococcus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus / isolation & purification*
  • Victoria / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents