Although antimicrobial resistance is an increasing threat in equine medicine, molecular and epidemiological data remain limited in North America. We assessed the prevalence of, and risk factors for, shedding multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) and/or AmpC β-lactamase-producing E. coli
in healthy horses in Quebec, Canada. We collected fecal samples in 225 healthy adult horses from 32 premises. A questionnaire on facility management and horse medical history was completed for each horse. Indicator (without enrichment) and specific (following enrichment with ceftriaxone) E. coli
were isolated and tested for antimicrobial susceptibility. The presence of ESBL/AmpC genes was determined by PCR. The prevalence of isolates that were non-susceptible to antimicrobials and to antimicrobial classes were estimated at the horse and the premises level. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess potential risk factors for MDR and ESBL/AmpC isolates. The shedding of MDR E. coli
was detected in 46.3% of horses. Non-susceptibility was most commonly observed to ampicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid or streptomycin. ESBL/AmpC producing isolates were detected in 7.3% of horses. The most commonly identified ESBL/AmpC gene was blaCTX-M-1
, although we also identified blaCMY-2
. The number of staff and equestrian event participation were identified as risk factors for shedding MDR isolates. The prevalence of healthy horses harboring MDR or ESBL/AmpC genes isolates in their intestinal microbiota is noteworthy. We identified risk factors which could help to develop guidelines to preclude their spread.
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