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Prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli in hospitalised horses

T. W. Maddox, N. J. Williams, P. D. Clegg, A. J. O'Donnell, S. Dawson, G. L. Pinchbeck

THIS study determined the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli in hospitalised horses and investigated associated risk factors for infection.

Repeated faecal samples were collected from horses admitted to a referral equine hospital over an 18-month period. Samples were collected from each horse within two hours of admission and every two days until discharge. Signalment, veterinary history and hospital data, including drug administration, veterinary procedures and location within the hospital, were recorded. Horses admitted for less than 48 hours, horses undergoing radioactive g-scintigraphy, unweaned foals, and mares with unweaned foals were excluded. Samples were cultured for resistant E coli. Isolates were tested to determine their susceptibility to a panel of seven antimicrobial agents: ampicillin, co-amoxiclav, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, tetracycline and trimethoprim.

A total of 103 horses were tested. Faecal samples had a high prevalence of resistant E coli for all antimicrobials tested except co-amoxiclav. The prevalence of resistance was lower at admission, rising to a peak at four days. For all outcomes except …

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