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  • 1 University of Pisa, Italy
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Enterococci are opportunistic bacteria that cause severe infections in animals and humans, capable to acquire, express, and transfer antimicrobial resistance. Susceptibility to 21 antimicrobial agents was tested by the disk diffusion method in 222 Enterococcus spp. strains isolated from the fecal samples of 287 healthy domestic dogs. Vancomycin and ampicillin minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and high-level aminoglycoside resistance (HLAR) tests were also performed. Isolates showed resistance mainly to streptomycin (88.7%), neomycin (80.6%), and tetracycline (69.4%). Forty-two (18.9%) isolates showed an HLAR to streptomycin and 15 (6.7%) to gentamicin. Vancomycin and ampicillin MIC values showed 1 and 18 resistant strains, respectively. One hundred and thirty-six (61.2%) strains were classified as multidrug resistant and six (2.7%) strains as possibly extensively drug-resistant bacteria. Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis were the most prevalent antimicrobial resistant species. Companion animals, which often live in close contact with their owners and share the same environment, represent a serious source of enterococci resistant to several antibiotics; for this reason, they may be a hazard for public health by providing a conduit for the entrance of resistance genes into the community.

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