Evaluation of antimicrobial resistance and risk factors for recovery of intrauterine Escherichia coli from cows with metritis on California commercial dairy farms


The goals of this study were to evaluate factors affecting recovery and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in intrauterine E. coli in post-partum dairy cows with and without metritis from commercial California dairy farms. Using a cross-sectional study design, a total of 307 cows were sampled from 25 farms throughout California, from which a total of 162 intrauterine E. coli isolates were recovered. During farm visits, cows within 21 days post-partum were categorized in one of three clinical presentation groups before enrollment: metritis (MET, n = 86), defined as a cow with watery, red or brown colored, and fetid vaginal discharge; cows with purulent discharge (PUS, n = 106), defined as a non-fetid purulent or mucopurulent vaginal discharge; and control cows, (CTL, n = 115) defined as cows with either no vaginal discharge or a clear, non-purulent mucus vaginal discharge. Cows diagnosed as MET had significantly higher odds for recovery of E. coli compared to cows diagnosed as CTL (OR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.17–3.96), with no significant difference observed between PUS and CTL, and PUS and MET. An increase in days in milk (DIM) at the time of sampling was significantly associated with a decrease in the odds ratio for E. coli recovery from intrauterine swabs (OR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.89–0.98). All intrauterine E. coli were resistant to ampicillin (AMP), with an AMR prevalence of 30.2% and 33.9% observed for chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline, respectively. Only 8.6% of isolates were resistant to ceftiofur (CEFT), one of the most common drugs used to treat cows on farms sampled. No significant difference in the prevalence of AMR was observed among clinical groups at the individual cow level. At the farm level, a significantly higher odds for isolating intrauterine E. coli resistant to chlortetracycline (OR: 2.6; 95% CI: 3.7–58.0) or oxytetracycline (OR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.4–33.8) was observed at farms that used an intrauterine infusion of oxytetracycline as a treatment for metritis when compared to those farms that did not use this practice. Findings from this study indicate the need for further research supporting a broader understanding of farm practices driving AMR in cows with metritis, as well as data to increase the accuracy of breakpoints for AMR classification of intrauterine E. coli from cattle.

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Diseases, Microbiology, Risk Factors, Zoology, Escheria coli, Cows
Basbas, C., Garzon, A., Silva-del-Rio, N. et al. Evaluation of antimicrobial resistance and risk factors for recovery of intrauterine Escherichia coli from cows with metritis on California commercial dairy farms. Sci Rep 12, 13937 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18347-w