Sixty-nine vaginal swabs and 138 rectal swabs collected from 195 equids were analysed for the presence of thermotolerant bacteria, that is, bacteria surviving at 60 ± 0.1°C for one hour. Thermotolerant Escherichia coli, Enterobacter species, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus species and Pseudomonas species were isolated from 41, 16, nine, three and three of the 138 rectal swabs, respectively; seven of the E coli and two of the Enterobacter species isolates survived pasteurisation at 63.8 ± 0.1°C for 30 minutes. All except three E coli, two Enterobacter species and one Proteus species isolate were resistant to three or more antimicrobial drugs, that is, they were multidrug resistant. Thermotolerant E coli, Enterobacter species and Proteus species were isolated from 11, two and two of the 69 vaginal swabs, respectively, but only one isolate of E coli survived pasteurisation at 63.8 ± 0.1°C for 30 minutes. All except two of the E coli isolates were multidrug resistant. None of the four thermotolerant isolates from nine soil samples collected on four of the farms where the equids were kept was pasteurisation resistant, but they were all multidrug resistant. Of the 10 pasteurisationresistant isolates, nine were multidrug resistant but none was resistant to chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, cotrimazine, cotrimoxazole or streptomycin. All the isolates grew at 42 ± 0.1°C but none grew at 46 ± 0.1°C or above. The Enterobacter isolates were more tolerant to pasteurisation than the E coli isolates, particularly during the first few minutes of exposure.
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