Faecal microbiota and antimicrobial resistance gene profiles of healthy foals
AuthorLiu, Y; Bailey, KE; Dyall-Smith, M; Marenda, MS; Hardefeldt, LY; Browning, GF; Gilkerson, JR; Billman-Jacobe, H
Source TitleEquine Veterinary Journal
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLiu, Y., Bailey, K. E., Dyall-Smith, M., Marenda, M. S., Hardefeldt, L. Y., Browning, G. F., Gilkerson, J. R. & Billman-Jacobe, H. (2020). Faecal microbiota and antimicrobial resistance gene profiles of healthy foals. EQUINE VETERINARY JOURNAL, https://doi.org/10.1111/evj.13366.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: The human and domestic animal faecal microbiota can carry various antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), especially if they have been exposed to antimicrobials. However, little is known about the ARG profile of the faecal microbiota of healthy foals. A high-throughput qPCR array was used to detect ARGs in the faecal microbiota of healthy foals. OBJECTIVES: To characterise the faecal microbiota and ARG profiles in healthy Australian foals aged less than 1 month. STUDY DESIGN: Observational study. METHODS: The faecal microbiota and ARG profiles of 37 Thoroughbred foals with no known gastrointestinal disease or antimicrobial treatment were determined using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and a high-throughput ARG qPCR array. Each foal was sampled on one occasion. RESULTS: Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were dominant in the faecal microbiota. Foals aged 1-2 weeks had significantly lower microbiota richness than older foals. Tetracycline resistance genes were the most common ARGs in the majority of foals, regardless of age. ARGs of high clinical concern were rarely detected in the faeces. The presence of ARGs was associated with the presence of class I integron genes. MAIN LIMITATIONS: Samples were collected for a case-control study so foals were not sampled longitudinally, and thus the development of the microbiota as individual foals aged could not be proven. The history of antimicrobial treatment of the dams was not collected and may have affected the microbiota of the foals. CONCLUSION: The ARGs in foal faeces varied concomitantly with age-related microbiota shifts. The high abundance of tetracycline resistance genes was likely due to the dominance of Bacteroides spp.
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