Dogs and Cats under drug resistant research
According to the findings of a study, healthy dogs and cats may be passing on multidrug-resistant organisms to owners who are hospitalized. According to new research that will be presented this weekend at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Copenhagen, humans may also be passing these harmful microbes on to their pets. However, the researchers emphasized that there is currently a low risk of cross-infection.
Dr. Carolin Hackmann and her colleagues from Charité University Hospital Berlin, Germany, conducted the study on over 2,800 hospital patients and their pets. She stated to the conference, “Our findings confirm that it is possible for companion animals and their owners to share multidrug-resistant organisms.”
Worldwide, there is a growing concern regarding pets’ potential role as reservoirs of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), which are bacteria that can’t be treated with more than one antibiotic. It occurs when infectious microbes develop resistance to the medication intended to kill them. Antimicrobial-resistant infections were responsible for nearly 1.3 million deaths and nearly 5 million deaths worldwide in 2019, according to estimates.
Researchers took swabs from 2,891 hospitalized patients and any dogs or cats that lived in their households to see if they contribute to the spread of MDROs.
The species of bacteria found in each sample and the presence of drug-resistant genes were determined by genetic sequencing. MDROs were found in 30% of hospitalized patients. In those who tested positive for MDRO, the rate of dog ownership was 11%, and the rate of cat ownership was 9%.
More than 300 pet owners responded to the invitation to send swab samples of their animals. 15% of dogs and 5% of cats in these samples tested positive for at least one MDRO. These microbes were found to be of the same species in four cases and to have the same resistance to antibiotics in pets and their owners.
Only one of the matching pairs between a dog and its owner were genetically identical, as confirmed by whole genome sequencing. Even though our study found very little sharing between hospital patients and their pets, carriers can spread bacteria for months and can be a source of infection for hospital patients who are more at risk, like those with weak immune systems or who are very young or old, says Hackmann.