Antimicrobial resistance profiles and phylogenetic groups of Escherichia coli isolated from healthy Thoroughbred racehorses in Japan

J Equine Sci. 2020;31(4):85-91. doi: 10.1294/jes.31.85. Epub 2020 Dec 18.


In this study, we investigated the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in commensal Escherichia coli isolated from healthy Thoroughbred (TB) racehorses in Japan. A total of 212 fecal samples were individually collected from TB racehorses from March 2017 to August 2018 at Japan Racing Association training centers. E. coli was isolated by using selective agar media, deoxycholate-hydrogen sulfide-lactose (DHL) and eosin methylene blue (EMB). A total of 417 E. coli isolates were examined against 10 antimicrobial agents by using the broth microdilution method. The 417 E. coli isolates were phylogenetically grouped using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction. The highest proportion of resistance was observed for streptomycin (30.9%, 129/417) followed by ampicillin (19.4%, 81/417), trimethoprim (15.8%, 66/417), tetracycline (8.4%, 35/417), chloramphenicol (2.6%, 11/417), kanamycin (1.2%, 5/417), nalidixic acid (0.5%, 2/417), cefazolin (0.2%, 1/417), colistin (0.2%, 1/417), and gentamycin (0%). Multidrug-resistant (MDR) E. coli was detected in 7.9% (33/417) of isolates. The proportions of resistance against ampicillin, streptomycin, kanamycin, and chloramphenicol and of multidrug-resistant phenotypes in E. coli belonging to phylogenetic group B2 were significantly higher than those of other groups. This study clarified the distribution of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) E. coli in Japanese racehorses. A continuous monitoring program for antimicrobial resistance is required to control the spread of AMR bacteria in racehorses.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; Thoroughbred; antimicrobial resistant.