The aim of this study was to characterize Staphylococcus pseudintermedius for its antimicrobial resistance and virulence factors with a special focus on methicillin-resistant (MRSP) strains isolated from sick dogs in Lithuania. Clinically sick adult dogs suffering from infections (n=214) and bitches with reproductive disorders (n=36) from kennels were selected for the study. Samples (n=192) from the 250 tested (76.8%) dogs were positive for Staphylococcus spp. Molecular profiling using the species-specific nuc gene identified 51 isolates as S. pseudintermedius (26.6% from a total number of isolated staphylococci) of which 15 isolates were identified as MRSP. Ten MRSP isolates were isolated from bitches with reproductive disorders from two large breeding kennels. Data on susceptibility of S. pseudintermedius to different antimicrobials revealed that all isolates were susceptible to vancomycin, daptomycin and linezolid. Two isolates (3.9%) were resistant to rifampicin. A high resistance was seen towards penicillin G (94.1%), tetracycline (64.7%) and macrolides (68.7%). Resistance to fluoroquinolones ranged from 25.5% (gatifloxacin) to 31.4% (ciprofloxacin). The most prevalent genes encoding resistance included blaZ, aac(6’)-Ie-aph(2’’)-Ia, mecA, and tet(M). The Luk-I gene encoding a leukotoxin was detected in 29% of the isolates, whereas the siet gene encoding exfoliative toxin was detected in 69% of the S. pseudintermedius isolates. This report of MRSP in companion animals represents a major challenge for veterinarians in terms of antibiotic therapy and is a concern for both animal and public health.
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