The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) exhibited by enterococci isolated from faeces of pets and its underlying risk factors. From September 2009 to May 2012, rectal swabs were collected from 74 dogs and 17 cats, selected from the population of animals visiting the Veterinary Hospital of University of Porto, UPVet, through a systematic random procedure. Animal owners answered a questionnaire about the risk factors that could influence the presence of AMR in faecal enterococci. Enterococci isolation, identification and antimicrobial (AM) susceptibility testing were performed. Data analyses of multilevel, univariable and multivariable generalised linear mixed models were conducted. From all enterococci isolated (n=315), 61 per cent were considered multidrug-resistant, whereas only 9.2 per cent were susceptible to all AMs tested. Highest resistance was found to tetracycline (67.0 per cent), rifampicin (60.3 per cent), azithromycin (58.4 per cent), quinupristin/dalfopristin (54.0 per cent) and erythromycin (53.0 per cent). Previous fluoroquinolone treatments and coprophagic habits were the features more consistently associated with the presence of AMR for three (chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin and azithromycin) and seven (tetracycline, rifampicin, gentamicin, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin and azithromycin), respectively, out of nine AMs assessed. Evaluating risk factors that determine the presence of drug-resistant bacteria in pets, a possible source of resistance determinants to human beings, is crucial for the selection of appropriate treatment guidelines by veterinary practitioners.
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