BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial resistance and presence of zoonotic enteropathogens in shelter dogs pose a public health risk to shelter workers and potential adopters alike. In this study we investigated the prevalence of zoonotic bacterial pathogens and cephalosporin resistant (CefR) enteric bacteria in the feces of apparently healthy shelter dogs in the Cumberland Gap Region (CGR) in the US states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

RESULTS: Fecal samples of 59 dogs from 10 shelters in the CGR of Central and South-Central Appalachia were screened for the presence of Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella and CefR enteric bacteria. C. jejuni, C. perfringens were detected by PCR based assays. Culture and PCR were used for Salmonella detection. Of 59 dogs, fecal samples from 14 (23.7%) and 8 (13.6%) dogs tested positive for cpa and hipO genes of C. perfringens and C. jejuni, respectively. Salmonella was not detected in any of the tested samples by PCR or culture. CefR enteric bacteria were isolated on MacConkey agar supplemented with ceftiofur followed by identification using MALDI-TOF. Fecal samples from 16 dogs (27.1%) yielded a total of 18 CefR enteric bacteria. Majority of CefR isolates (14/18, 77.8%) were E. coli followed by, one isolate each of Enterococcus hirae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Acinetobacter pittii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. CefR enteric bacteria were tested for resistance against 19- or 24-antibiotic panels using broth microdilution method. Seventeen (94.4%) CefR bacteria were resistant to more than one antimicrobial agent, and 14 (77.8%) displayed multidrug resistance (MDR).

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that shelter dogs within the CGR not only carry zoonotic bacterial pathogens, but also shed multidrug resistant enteric bacteria in their feces that may pose public health risks.

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Published in BMC Veterinary Research, v. 17, issue 1, article no. 313.

© The Author(s) 2021

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Funding Information

This project was funded through an intramural grant from Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Related Content

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.