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Multi-drug Resistant Salmonella Dublin in Cattle

By Wendy Wilkins, DVM PhD, Disease Surveillance Veterinarian

January 2019

Prairie Diagnostic Services (PDS) has increasingly been isolating Salmonella Dublin (Group D) from diagnostic samples submitted from cattle premises in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Salmonella spp. in humans can cause illness and death, and those with weakened or suppressed immune systems, such as pregnant women and the very young or old, are most susceptible. Visit a doctor as soon as possible if you begin to show symptoms, including fever, delirium, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Consuming raw milk can put you at particularly high risk.

The diagnostic samples flagged by PDS have all shown the same antimicrobial susceptibility profile, being resistant to multiple antibiotics including:

  • Ceftiofur;
  • Tetracycline;
  • Tilmicosin;
  • Florfenicol; and
  • Tulathromycin.
Annual confirmed cases of S. Dublin
While the number of cases diagnosed annually is still relatively low, there is a clear increasing trend of new Salmonella Dublin cases.

It is unknown how and when multi-drug resistant Salmonella Dublin strains emerged in the Canadian bovine industry, or how widespread they are. In Quebec, the disease was first diagnosed in 2014 and, since then, surveillance has shown that it has spread to at least 10 per cent of that province’s dairy herds. Salmonella Dublin is characterized by a common multi-drug resistant profile regardless of where it is found, be it Canada, the United States or Europe.

Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center advises cattle operations to take steps to prevent the introduction and transmission of Salmonella Dublin and other enteric pathogens. Doing so can help protect the health of humans and animals alike.

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