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Research comment
Monitoring antimicrobial resistance in bacteria isolated from horses
  1. Finola Leonard
  1. School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. email: nola.leonard{at}

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in commensal organisms and pathogens of both people and animals is a major One Health concern.1 Although resistance associated with food animal production is the subject of much attention from researchers and policymakers, AMR in companion animals and horses is also of considerable importance.2

AMR in organisms recovered from horses is a problem for clinicians as it reduces therapeutic choice, but resistant organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli may also pose a zoonotic hazard to owners and other people that come into close contact with the horses.3,4 Fig 1 illustrates the multidrug resistance pattern of an isolate of MRSA.

Information on antimicrobial resistance in isolates recovered from individual clinical cases is useful for the vet attending the case, but the collation of such data from diagnostic laboratories is also of importance in informing veterinary prescribing practice more widely. The study by Fonseca and colleagues,5 summarised on p 189 of this issue of Vet Record, provides valuable information for veterinary practitioners on antimicrobial resistance patterns in equine respiratory isolates and also highlights important issues relating to the interpretation of diagnostic reports.

Fonseca and colleagues report that the most common organisms isolated from respiratory samples in their laboratory in the UK included Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (with some S equi subspecies equi), Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas species and Pasteurella species. Staphylococcal species were also commonly isolated from upper respiratory tract samples.5 …

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