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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Author(s): Burow, E; Rostalski, A; Harlizius, J; Gangl, A; Simoneit, C; Grobbel, M; Kollas, C; Tenhagen, BA; Kasbohrer, A

Title: Antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli from pigs from birth to slaughter and its association with antibiotic treatment

Source: Prev Vet Med. 2019; 165: 52-62.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Käsbohrer Annemarie

The purpose of this longitudinal study was to describe the occurrence of antibiotic resistance in faecal Escherichia colt isolated from pigs between birth and slaughter and its association with antibiotic treatment. Four objectives were addressed: comparison of antibiotic resistance in isolates from a) treated vs. non-treated pigs, b) follow-up vs. initial samples of treated and non-treated pigs, c) pigs receiving treatments via different administration routes and d) sows and their piglets. Each comparison addressed the following antibiotic groups used for treatment: beta-lactams, tetracyclines, polymyxins and macrolides, and the susceptibility of E coli isolates to the respective agents: ampicillin, tetracycline, colistin and azithromycin. Between 2014 and 2016, 406 focal animals from 29 commercial breeding herds were followed from birth to the end of the relevant fattening periods. All antibiotic treatments in these pigs were documented. Faecal samples were collected from the focal pigs once while suckling, once after weaning and three limes during fattening, and from their dams once around farrowing. Escherichia coli isolated from these samples was tested for antibiotic susceptibility. In total, 264 animals from 19 breeding herds were treated with an antibiotic at least once during their lifetime. Beta-lactams, tetracyclines and colistin were used most frequently. Piglets were treated individually by injection (n = 108 treatments) or via drench (9); weaners via feed (192) or water (56) and fatteners via feed (30) or injection (15). Resistance to ampicillin and tetracycline in E. cola was already common prior to antibiotic treatment. Resistance proportions were higher for beta-lactam-, tetracycline-, colistin- and macrolide-treated pigs compared to untreated pigs at different sampling periods (p < 0.05; Fisher's exact test). In the logistic analysis, the difference was confirmed for beta-lactam-treated vs. untreated pigs. In E. coli from macrolide-untreated pigs, resistance to azithromycin was more frequent compared to pre-treatment values. Route of application did not affect rates of antibiotic resistance in the logistic analysis even though Fisher's exact test indicated associations for beta-lactams (feed/water vs. injection), tetracyclines (feed/water vs. non-treatment) and macrolides (tulathromycin-injection vs. tylosin in feed). Piglets were more likely to carry an E. coli resistant to ampicillin or azithromycin if their dams did so as well. Our results suggest further research on resistance effects by administration routes is required. Reducing antibiotic resistance in sows might lead to a lower level of beta-lactam or macrolide-resistant E. coli among their progeny. To preserve treatment options for bacterial infections, antibiotic use should be restricted to necessary cases.

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