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Is marbofloxacin a good candidate for treating pigs in Europe?
  1. Nuno Silva, PhD1 and
  2. Margarida Sousa, MSc2
  1. 1Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Scotland, UK
  2. 2Veterinary and Animal Science Research Center, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal
  1. e-mail: Nuno.Silva{at}

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SURVEILLANCE of the antimicrobial susceptibility of pathogens to quinolones in veterinary use is important and essential. These synthetic antibiotics are often classified as ‘broad-spectrum’ because they are used for the treatment of both local and systemic infections caused by susceptible Gram-negative microorganisms (Plumb 2008). Therapeutic success in treating respiratory, intestinal, urinary and skin infections, as well as bacterial meningitis, osteomyelitis and arthritis, has been well described thanks to the development of next generation fluoroquinolones. Gram-positive bacteria are now also susceptible to the quinolones' spectrum of activity (King and others 2000).

Resistance to quinolones

Quinolones are highly potent bactericidal agents which block bacterial growth by inhibiting DNA replication or DNA repairing enzymes resulting in rapid bacterial death. Bacterial resistance to fluoroquinolones should develop slowly because it is supposed to happen by point mutations in the target enzymes, such that quinolones aren't able to bind to their target (Walsh 2003). These mutations only occur in a small population of bacteria, but bacterial quinolone resistance has progressed considerably and has evolved to include plasmid-mediated resistance, where enzymes are expressed to alter the antibiotic structure (Cattoir and Nordmann 2009). In addition, bacteria can develop resistance through changes in membrane permeability creating channels to discharge the antibiotic, known as efflux pumps (Alvarez and others 2008).

Veterinary use of marbofloxacin

Marbofloxacin is a synthetic third generation fluoroquinolone. Used only in veterinary practice, it is rapidly and almost completely absorbed after administration, has good tissue penetration and is safe and tolerable (Plumb 2008). Moreover, …

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