Risk Factors, Genetic Diversity, and Antimicrobial Resistance of Staphylococcus spp. Isolates in Dogs Admitted to an Intensive Care Unit of a Veterinary Hospital
Intensive Care Units (ICU) usually provide an excellent environment for the selection of pathogens associated with hospital-acquired infections (HAI), leading to increased mortality and hospitalization costs. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) is a major cause of HAI in dogs worldwide, but the risk factors and dynamics of colonization by MRSP are largely unknown. This study aimed to evaluate the risk factors associated with the acquisition of MRSP in dogs admitted to an ICU, and to report the antimicrobial resistance profiles and genetic relatedness of MRSP isolates. Sterile swabs from the nostril, axilla, and rectum were collected daily during the hospitalization of 54 dogs. Samples were subjected to Mannitol Salt Agar, and colonies were identified by MALDI-ToF, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and sequencing of the rpoB gene. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing and PCR detection of mecA were performed. Staphylococcus spp. was isolated from 94% of the dogs, and the most frequently isolated species was S. pseudintermedius (88.2%). Carriage of multidrug resistant (MDR) staphylococci was observed in 64.4% of the dogs, and approximately 39% had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus sp. (MRS), of which 21.6% had MRSP and 1.9% had methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The acquisition of MRSP during ICU hospitalization was associated with sex (female), age (>7 years), and dogs that had previously been treated with antimicrobials. Animals colonized by MRSP resistant to ≥9 antimicrobial classes had longer hospital stays than those colonized by other MRS strains. Among the 13 MRSP isolates that were subjected to whole-genome sequencing, ten were classified as ST71. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis revealed three clones, including one that was detected in infected dogs outside the ICU. This study indicates novel risk factors associated with colonization by MRSP. The detection of the same MRSP clone causing HAI outside the ICU reinforces the need for improved infection prevention and control practices at veterinary hospitals in general and at the ICU in particular.