Occurrence of potentially zoonotic and cephalosporin resistant enteric bacteria among shelter dogs in the Central and South-Central Appalachia

Ashutosh Verma, Kimberly Carney, Marina Taylor, Kaitlyn Amsler, Joey Morgan, Karen Gruszynski, Erdal Erol, Craig Carter, Stephan Locke, Ashton Callipare, Devendra H. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Antimicrobial resistance and presence of zoonotic enteropathogens in shelter dogs pose a public health risk to shelter workers and potential adopters alike. In this study we investigated the prevalence of zoonotic bacterial pathogens and cephalosporin resistant (CefR) enteric bacteria in the feces of apparently healthy shelter dogs in the Cumberland Gap Region (CGR) in the US states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Results: Fecal samples of 59 dogs from 10 shelters in the CGR of Central and South-Central Appalachia were screened for the presence of Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella and CefR enteric bacteria. C. jejuni, C. perfringens were detected by PCR based assays. Culture and PCR were used for Salmonella detection. Of 59 dogs, fecal samples from 14 (23.7%) and 8 (13.6%) dogs tested positive for cpa and hipO genes of C. perfringens and C. jejuni, respectively. Salmonella was not detected in any of the tested samples by PCR or culture. CefR enteric bacteria were isolated on MacConkey agar supplemented with ceftiofur followed by identification using MALDI-TOF. Fecal samples from 16 dogs (27.1%) yielded a total of 18 CefR enteric bacteria. Majority of CefR isolates (14/18, 77.8%) were E. coli followed by, one isolate each of Enterococcus hirae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Acinetobacter pittii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. CefR enteric bacteria were tested for resistance against 19- or 24-antibiotic panels using broth microdilution method. Seventeen (94.4%) CefR bacteria were resistant to more than one antimicrobial agent, and 14 (77.8%) displayed multidrug resistance (MDR). Conclusions: This study shows that shelter dogs within the CGR not only carry zoonotic bacterial pathogens, but also shed multidrug resistant enteric bacteria in their feces that may pose public health risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number313
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Central and South-Central Appalachia
  • Multi-drug resistance (MDR)
  • Shelter dogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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