Background: Close contact between pets and owners provides the opportunity for transmission of antimicrobial resistant organisms like extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)/AmpC beta-lactamase (AmpC)-producing Enterobacteriaceae, posing a risk to public health. Objectives: To investigate whether raw feed is a risk factor for household cats to shed ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae, a cohort study was designed. Additionally, raw and non-raw commercial pet food products were screened for the presence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae. Methods: Weekly fecal samples of 17 cats in the control group and 19 cats in the exposed group were collected for three weeks and analyzed for the presence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae. Questionnaires were obtained to determine additional risk factors. Fecal samples were cultured on MacConkey agar supplemented with 1 mg/L cefotaxime. PCR and sequence analysis was used for screening for ESBL genes in suspected isolates. Pet food samples were cultured in LB broth supplemented with 1 mg/L cefotaxime and processed as described above. Results: In the cohort study, ESBL-producing bacteria were isolated from 3 of 51 (5.9%) samples in the control group compared to 37 of 57 (89.5%) samples in the exposed group. A significant association was found between ESBL shedding and feeding raw pet food products (OR = 31.5). No other risk factors were identified in this study. ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae were isolated from 14 of 18 (77.8%) raw pet food products and 0 of 35 non-raw pet food products. Conclusions: This study shows a strong association between shedding of ESBL-producing bacteria in household cats and feeding raw pet food. Raw pet food was often contaminated with ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Baede, V.O. (Valérie O.), Broens, E.M, Spaninks, M.P. (Mirlin P.), Timmerman, A.J. (Arjen J.), Graveland, H. (Haitske), Wagenaar, J.A, … Hordijk, J. (Joost). (2017). Raw pet food as a risk factor for shedding of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in household cats. PLoS ONE, 12(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0187239