Escherichia coli and salmonella species resistance profiles and associated risk factors in dogs and cats in Kampala
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains a big public health threat globally, affecting humans, animals and environmental health. So far, efforts for control of AMR have been directed towards humans and livestock neglecting the companion animals. Therefore, it is paramount that companion animals are considered essential in the strategy against antimicrobial resistance. The current study aimed to document the potential health risk to humans that companion animals (dogs and cats) pose in the sustenance of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli and Salmonella. To determine this, a cross sectional study involving six small animal clinics in Kampala District, the capital of Uganda was performed. Dogs and cats brought to the selected small animal clinics were examined and restrained to obtain rectal swabs. The samples were transported and submitted to the Central Diagnostic Laboratory in Makerere University to isolate E. coli and Salmonella species. Subsequently, drug susceptibility tests were performed on the isolated samples using a panel of 8 antibiotics namely; ampicillin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ceftriaxone, colistin, and amoxicillin clavulanic acid, using the Kirby Bauer disk diffusion tests. In addition, a questionnaire to assess the use of antibiotics in companion animals was administered to the owner, after obtaining a written consent. In this study, 83 rectal swabs were collected of which 61 were from dogs and 22 were from cats. Among the 61 samples collected from dogs, the prevalence of E. coli and Salmonella was, 95.1% and 9.8%, respectively. Out of the 22 cat samples, 95.5% tested positive for E. coli and 4.5% positive for Salmonella. For the antibiotic susceptibility tests (AST) performed, the E. coli isolates obtained were highly resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (64.2%), tetracycline (64.2%), and ampicillin (58.0%) while the Salmonella isolates were resistant to ampicillin (85.7%), tetracycline (71.4%) and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (57.1%). Ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, colistin and gentamicin were effective against both E. coli and Salmonella. Salmonella spp were 100% susceptible to ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, and colistin. Responses obtained from the questionnaire showed that the majority of the pet owners have knowledge about AMR. However, it also indicated that those who are aware of AMR are the ones that self-medicate especially with the drugs that showed high resistance. From the study, it can be clearly seen that the commonly used drugs in antibiotic therapy were the most ineffective. This poses a big threat on treatment of bacterial infections which risks human health. Therefore, raising awareness about the zoonotic potential of canine and feline disease prevention measures and good hygiene practices is essential.