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Genotypic antimicrobial resistance characterization of E. coli from dairy calves at high risk of respiratory disease administered enrofloxacin or tulathromycin.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal effect of enrofloxacin or tulathromycin use in calves at high risk of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) on antimicrobial resistance genes and mutation in quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDR) in fecal E. coli. Calves at high risk of developing BRD were randomly enrolled in one of three groups receiving: (1) enrofloxacin (ENR; n = 22); (2) tulathromycin (TUL; n = 24); or (3) no treatment (CTL; n = 21). Fecal samples were collected at enrollment and at 7, 28, and 56 days after beginning treatment, cultured for Escherichia coli (EC) and DNA extracted. Isolates were screened for cephalosporin, quinolone and tetracycline resistance genes using PCR. QRDR screening was conducted using Sanger sequencing. The only resistance genes detected were aac(6')Ib-cr (n = 13), bla-CTX-M (n = 51), bla-TEM (n = 117), tetA (n = 142) and tetB (n = 101). A significantly higher detection of gyrA mutated at position 248 at time points 7 (OR = 11.5; P value = 0.03) and 28 (OR = 9.0; P value = 0.05) was observed in the ENR group when compared to calves in the control group. Our findings support a better understanding of the potential impacts from the use of enrofloxacin in calves on the selection and persistence of resistance.

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