Estimating the rates of acquisition and loss of resistance of enterobacteriaceae to antimicrobial drugs in pre-weaned dairy calves

Elisa Cella, Emmanuel Okello, Paul V. Rossitto, Beniamino T. Cenci-Goga, Luca Grispoldi, Deniece R. Williams, David B. Sheedy, Richard Van Vleck Pereira, Betsy M. Karle, Terry W. Lehenbauer, Sharif S Aly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of the antimicrobial drugs (AMD) on the shedding of resistant Enterobacteriaceae in feces of pre-weaned dairy calves. The AMD considered were ceftiofur, administered parenterally, and neomycin sulfate added in milk replacer and fed to calves during the first 20 days of life. Fifty-five calves, aged one to three days, were enrolled and followed to 64 days. Fecal samples were collected three times/week and treatments recorded daily. Enterobacteriaceae were quantified for a subset of 33 calves using spiral plating on plain, ceftiofur supplemented, and neomycin supplemented MacConkey agar. Negative binomial models were used to predict the association between treatment with AMD and the gain and loss of Enterobacteriaceae resistance over time. Acquisition of resistance by the Enterobacteriaceae occurred during treatment and peaked between days three to four post-treatment before decreasing to below treatment levels at days seven to eight post-treatment. Acquisition of neomycin resistance was observed on the first sampling day (day four from the start of feeding medicated milk replacer) to day eight, followed by cyclical peaks until day 29, when the Enterobacteriaceae counts decreased below pre-treatment. Enterobacteriaceae resistance against both AMD increased after AMD administration and didn’t return to pre-therapeutic status until seven or more days after therapy had been discontinued. The study findings provide valuable insights into the dynamics of Enterobacteriaceae under routine AMD use in calves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2103
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Ceftiofur
  • Dairy calves
  • Feces
  • Neomycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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