More from the ASM-ESCMID MRSA in animals meeting…

Dr. Joe Rubin presented some data on antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus bacteria from dogs and people in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada). The bacterial isolates came from dogs carrying S. aureus and from dogs infected with MRSA. When you look at the resistance patterns of the S. aureus isolates from the carrier dogs (these are an indicator of what’s around in the general population, and they can cause infections given the right circumstance), resistance was uncommon. Multidrug resistance was present in the methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates, as expected.

Saskatoon’s an interesting area in terms of resistant bacteria. Various studies from the University of Saskatchewan have reported very low antibiotic resistance rates in bacteria from animals. Certainly, they have some problems like everywhere else, but I find some of their data quite remarkable. They can have a lot more confidence in the use of various first-line antibiotics compared to other regions where resistance is more common and drug options are more limited. I’m not really sure why this is the case.

  • Maybe it has to do with the fact that there is less animal movement between Saskatchewan and other regions where there are more resistance problems.
  • Maybe the low population density in Saskatchewan plays a role.
  • Maybe multidrug resistant bacteria don’t like the frigid Saskatchewan winter (or the fact that there’s no NHL team in the province).
  • Maybe they use antibiotics in animals in a much more controlled manner.

Trying to figure out why resistance rates in Saskatchewan tend to be lower would be useful because it might provide some information about how to reduce the risks in other regions.

So, if you’re in Saskatoon and your pet gets an infection, take some consolation in the fact that there’s probably a lower risk that you’re dealing with a resistant bacterium and that your first-line antibiotics will probably work.