Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

In-vitro antibiotic resistance phenotypes of respiratory and enteric bacterial isolates from weaned dairy heifers in California


Antimicrobial drug (AMD) use for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) continues to be concerning for development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in respiratory and enteric bacteria of cattle. This study aimed to provide data regarding AMR in respiratory isolates, and identify relationships between respiratory and enteric AMD susceptibility, in weaned dairy heifers. A cross-sectional study was performed between June of 2019 and February 2020, on 6 calf rearing facilities in California. Deep nasopharyngeal and rectal swabs were collected from 341 weaned heifers and submitted for selective bacterial culture and AMR testing. Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, and Histophilus somni were selectively isolated from respiratory samples; Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. were selectively isolated from rectal swabs. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) were determined for selected isolates against 19 AMD. The proportion of resistant isolates was calculated using Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (respiratory) or USDA NARMS (enteric) breakpoints; when no applicable breakpoint was available, the distribution of MIC was described and compared. Association between AMR in a calf's respiratory isolate and a higher or lower MIC of the matched enteric isolates was determined. More than 50% of P. multocida isolates were resistant to each of 7 AMD commonly used to treat BRD (florfenicol, gamithromycin, tildipirosin, tilmicosin, danofloxacin, enrofloxacin and tetracycline). Resistance in respiratory isolates was only associated with higher matched enteric MIC for gamithromycin and tulathromycin. Multidrug resistance was reported in >70% of P. multocida and M. haemolytica isolates. Antimicrobial resistance, including multidrug resistance, in respiratory isolates appears to be widespread in weaned dairy heifers; this finding has not previously been reported and raises concern for the future efficacy of AMD used to treat respiratory diseases in weaned dairy heifers. Enteric bacterial MIC appear to have limited direct association with respiratory isolate AMR classification.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View