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Vet Microbiol. 2006 Mar 10;113(1-2):97-101. Epub 2005 Dec 2.

Determination of the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance genes in canine Clostridium perfringens isolates.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 2108 Tupper Hall, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Clostridium perfringens is a well documented cause of a mild self-limiting diarrhea and a potentially fatal acute hemorrhagic diarrheal syndrome in the dog. A recent study documented that 21% of canine C. perfringens isolates had MIC's indicative of resistance to tetracycline, an antimicrobial commonly recommended for treatment of C. perfringens-associated diarrhea. The objective of the present study was to further evaluate the antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of these isolates by determining the prevalence of specific resistance genes, their expression, and ability for transference between bacteria. One hundred and twenty-four canine C. perfringens isolates from 124 dogs were evaluated. Minimum inhibitory concentrations of tetracycline, erythromycin, tylosin, and metronidazole were determined using the CLSI Reference Agar Dilution Method. All isolates were screened for three tetracycline resistance genes: tetA(P), tetB(P) and tetM, and two macrolide resistance genes: ermB and ermQ, via PCR using primer sequences previously described. Ninety-six percent (119/124) of the isolates were positive for the tetA(P) gene, and 41% (51/124) were positive for both the tetA(P) and tetB(P) genes. No isolates were positive for the tetB(P) gene alone. Highly susceptible isolates (MIC< or = 4 microg/ml) were significantly more likely to lack the tetB(P) gene. One isolate (0.8%) was positive for the ermB gene, and one isolate was positive for the ermQ gene. The tetM gene was not found in any of the isolates tested. Two out of 15 tested isolates (13%) demonstrated transfer of tetracycline resistance via bacterial conjugation. Tetracycline should be avoided for the treatment of C. perfringens-associated diarrhea in dogs because of the relatively high prevalence of in vitro resistance, and the potential for conjugative transfer of antimicrobial resistance.

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