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Vet Microbiol. 2011 Dec 15;153(3-4):354-60. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.05.040. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Fecal microbiota of calves in the clinical setting: effect of penicillin treatment.

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Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (NSVS), Pb 8146 Dep, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.


The effect of parenteral penicillin treatment on the intestinal microbiota was determined by monitoring the phenotypic antimicrobial resistance among Escherichia coli in 19 calves (15 calves received treatment and four calves were healthy controls) and by examining changes in the fecal microbial community structure using molecular fingerprinting techniques in a subset of eight calves (five treated calves and three control calves). After five days of penicillin treatment an increased resistance to multiple unrelated antimicrobial agents, including non-β-lactams, was seen in E. coli from treated calves, and this was not seen in the controls. Automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) revealed that penicillin treatment causes a significant variation in the microbial structure within an individual calf. The study shows that parenteral administration of penicillin has an impact on the composition of the fecal microbiota in calves, and on the antimicrobial resistance pattern of their fecal E. coli.

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