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Trends in antimicrobial resistance in equine bacterial isolates: 1999–2012
  1. I. C. Johns, BVSc DACVIM-LA and
  2. E.-L. Adams, BVetMed
  1. Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Equine Referral Hospital, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL97TA, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: ijohns{at}


This study aimed to identify changing antimicrobial resistance patterns in isolates commonly obtained from equine clinical submissions. Laboratory records from 1999 to 2012 were searched for equine samples from which Escherichia coli or Streptococcus species was isolated. Susceptibility to enrofloxacin, ceftiofur, gentamicin, penicillin G, trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole (TMPS) and tetracyclines was noted. Isolates were divided into those identified between 1999 and 2004 (Early) and between 2007 and 2012 (Late). The proportion of isolates resistant to each antimicrobial and multiple drug-resistant (MDR) isolates (≥3 antimicrobial classes) was compared between time periods. There were 464 isolates identified (242 Early; 222 Late). A significant increase in the percentage of E coli isolates resistant to ceftiofur (7.3–22.7 per cent, P=0.002), gentamicin (28.5–53.9 per cent, P<0.001), tetracyclines (48.4–74.2 per cent, P=0.002) and MDR (26.6–49.4 per cent, P=0.007) was identified. There was a significant increase over time in the percentage of all streptococcal species resistant to enrofloxacin, ranging from 0 per cent (Early) up to 63 per cent (Late) depending on species. For Streptococcus zooepidemicus, resistance over time to tetracyclines and MDR increased. There was also a decrease in the proportion of S zooepidemicus resistant to TMPS over time. An increase in resistance over time of common equine pathogens to a number of commonly used antimicrobials supports the responsible use of antimicrobials.

  • Antimicrobials
  • equine
  • Antimicrobial resistance
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