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Background: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is recognised as an emerging disease in both humans and some animal species. During the past few years, insights into human CDI epidemiology changed and C. difficile is also considered as an emerging community-acquired pathogen. Certain ribotypes (RT) are possibly associated with zoonotic transmission. The objective of this study was to assess the presence of C. difficile in a population of pets and to characterise the isolates. Results: Faecal samples from a total of 90 diarrhoeic dogs and 24 from exotic animal species (both diarrhoeic and non-diarrhoeic) were analysed. Clostridium difficile was isolated from 6 (6.7%) dogs and one reptile sample (4.2%). Four (66.7%) of the six dog strains were capable of producing toxins. Four known different RTs were detected in dogs (010, 014, 123 and 358) and a new one was found in a faecal sample of an exotic animal. This new RT isolate was negative for all toxin genes tested and belonged to sequence type 347 which has been proposed as a Clade-III member. Importantly, two dog strains showed a stable resistance to metronidazole (initial MIC values: 128 and 48 μg/ml). Conclusions: The results obtained in this study suggest the implementation of antimicrobial susceptibility surveillance programs to assess the prevalence of metronidazole resistance in dogs; molecular studies to elucidate C. difficile metronidazole resistance mechanisms are warranted. Based on the similarity between the ribotypes observed in dogs and those described in humans, the zoonotic transmission should be further explored. Furthermore, exotic animals have shown to harbor uncommon C. difficile strains which require further genomic studies.
Andrés-Lasheras, S., Martín-Burriel, I., Mainar-Jaime, R. C., Morales, M., Kuijper, E., Blanco, J. L., … Bolea, R. (2018). Preliminary studies on isolates of Clostridium difficile from dogs and exotic pets. BMC Veterinary Research, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-018-1402-7