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Can Your Dog Give You E. coli?

Posted in E. coli,Our Blog on March 24, 2024

Is your favorite pet carrying E. Coli bacteria inside his digestive tract? Can your pet give it to you? Can Your Dog Give You E. coli?

The answer could be yes, and even worse, today’s common antibiotics might not be able to cure it.

Recent scientific studies suggest that household dogs of any breed may carry antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli (E. Coli) in their lower intestines.

Scientists from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Sichuan Agricultural University, Key Laboratory of Animal Disease and Human Health of Sichuan, Chengdu, China, released their most recent findings last week.

What Chinese Scientist Found

The team of Eastern scientists studied the characteristics of one hundred and eighty-five domesticated dogs’ diarrhea droppings. During the sampling period, if dogs were prescribed antimicrobial agents within three months prior, the antimicrobial agent ingested could have stopped active bacteria from growing and eliminated some dog excrement from the study.

However, scientists in the study were able to collect one hundred and thirty-five multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains that contained elevated levels of antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) and virulence-associated genes (VAGs).

This discovery means humans who contract E. Coli from their dogs could suffer side effects that today’s prescribed antibiotics might not remedy.

Scientists studying these discoveries are now cautioning dog owners to prevent E. Coli transmission between themselves and their pet dogs (Dogs were only the target study group).

Chinese scientists in this study reported finding one hundred and eighteen strains (87.41%, 118/135) that evaluated positive for E. Coli and were classified as antibiotic-resistant to at least one antimicrobial agent. In comparison, seventeen strains (12.59%, 17/135) were responsive to all antimicrobial agents.

Are Antibiotics Becoming Resistant to Certain Bacteria

Penicillin was one of the first antibiotics discovered in the early 1920s. It is the most common, widely used, and perhaps the best-known antibiotic. Penicillin was derived from a penicillium mold, which a Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming discovered after he attempted to grow Staphylococcus aureus in a culture of green mold known as penicillium notatum.

Fleming grew the green mold into a liquid medium source and soon discovered that the experimental Penicillium mold would stop known types of bacteria from growing, specifically Staphylococcus bacteria.

A few years later, in the 1930s, Australian pathologist Howard Florey and British biochemist Ernst Boris Chain isolated, filtered, and experimented with the discovery of Penicillin.

By 1941, Penicillin was marketed in an injectable form, and the new antibiotic was available for medicinal use. Penicillin has been the cure for many types of human bacterial illnesses for decades.

Because today’s scientists are finding that E. Coli bacteria strands are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, the Chinese study also experimented with other commonly known antibiotics and found them resistant to E. Coli strands. Those known antibiotics included Tetracyclines, Sulfonamides, Quinolones, and Amide Alcohol.

Other E. Coli Studies Are Ongoing

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also reporting the threat to humans because increasing findings indicate that antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria, viruses, molds, and parasites are no longer responding to antimicrobial medicines as they used to.

According to the WHO, these occurrences prove that antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines are becoming ineffective, making it harder to treat many illnesses.

The WHO warns when illnesses become more challenging to treat, we risk the spread of diseases that can cause more – severe illnesses, profound disabilities, and even death.

Chinese Scientists’ Study Reveals More Truths

In concluding their recent findings, the Chinese Scientists revealed their study had a limited sampling site at their Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The report added that further investigations would include Sequencing or Whole Genome Sequencing for a more comprehensive experiment on multi-drug-resistant E. Coli strains from dog diarrhea droppings.

A side note: The Chinese E. coli report included two additional details. The first stated that last year, the estimated number of domestic pets in China was over 100 million. The second explained that in 2020 alone, the domestic pet population in China received 30,000 tons of veterinary antibiotics.

By Cindy Lockstone (Contributing Writer, non-lawyer)