Infections With Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria—Has the Post-Antibiotic Era Arrived in Companion Animals?

  • Lothar H. WielerEmail author
  • Birgit Walther
  • Szilvia Vincze
  • Sebastian Guenther
  • Antina Lübke-Becker


The increasing prevalence of infectious diseases caused by drug- and multidrug-resistant pathogenic bacteria in companion animals (dogs, cats, horses), particularly in veterinary hospitals, is a worrisome development. Regarding companion animals, currently the four clinically most important groups of multidrug-resistant pathogenic bacteria are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus (S.) aureus (MRSA), methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP), Extended-ß-lactamase-producing (ESBL) Enterobacteriaceae and multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter (A.) baumannii. Infections caused by these bacteria are often associated with clinical settings and involve mostly wound, skin, ear or urinary tract infections. S. pseudintermedius is a typical cause of canine skin infections and until recently regarded as being host-specific. However, the epidemic spread of MRSP together with the changing socio-cultural interaction between companion animals and humans has already resulted in human cases of MRSP infections. Just the opposite development was observed with MRSA. Here, typical hospital-associated (HA) genotypes originating from humans spread into companion animals, now being a substantial cause of disease. In both cases, typical non-zoonotic bacteria turned into zoonotic agents. These findings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the influence of antimicrobial drug usage and multidrug-resistance in speeding up microbial evolution. Concerted action is urgently needed to slow down these processes.


Companion Animal Zoonotic Pathogen Veterinary Clinic Zoonotic Potential Nosocomial Outbreak 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lothar H. Wieler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Birgit Walther
    • 1
  • Szilvia Vincze
    • 1
  • Sebastian Guenther
    • 1
  • Antina Lübke-Becker
    • 1
  1. 1.Free University BerlinBerlinGermany

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