Antimicrobial resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis and Streptococcus dysgalactiae from dairy cows with mastitis

Antimicrobial resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis and Streptococcus dysgalactiae from dairy cows with mastitis
Peer reviewed


AIMS: To determine the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of antimicrobials for common mastitis pathogens from dairy cows in New Zealand; and to assess the effect of source of the isolates, i.e. commercial veterinary laboratories or collected as part of research studies; the clinical status of the cow, i.e. subclinical or clinical mastitis; cow age and herd on the distribution of the MIC.

METHODS: Minimal inhibitory concentrations for Staphylococcus aureus (n=364), Streptococcus dysgalactiae (n=65) and Streptococcus uberis (n=102) isolated from milk samples from dairy cows were determined for a variety of antimicrobials using broth microdilution. Isolates of S. aureus were sourced from research studies from both subclinically (n=161) and clinically (n=104) affected cows, as well as from commercial veterinary laboratories (n=101); while all the streptococcal isolates were from commercial laboratories. Resistance was defined using the cut-points provided by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI).

RESULTS: The distribution of MIC varied among the bacterial species for every antimicrobial tested (p<0.001). Of the S. aureus isolates, 28, 2 and 0.5% were resistant to penicillin, ampicillin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, respectively. For S. dysgalactiae and S. uberis isolates, 17 and 13% were resistant to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, respectively. One isolate (1%) of S. uberis was resistant to penicillin. The distribution of MIC of S. aureus varied with clinical status, between herds, and with age of cow (p<0.05). The distribution of MIC for S. aureus for penicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, cloxacillin and ampicillin were lower from clinical than subclinical cases, and those for amoxicillin/clavulanic acid and oxytetracycline from isolates from veterinary laboratories were lower than for those from research studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Resistance to some beta-lactam antimicrobials and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole were found in isolates from cases of bovine mastitis. The distribution of MIC for isolates of S. aureus varied with clinical status of the cow, the age of the cow, the herd and with the source of isolate.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Resistance to penicillin was found in a quarter of S. aureus isolates, but in virtually no Streptococcus isolates; therefore microbial identification and sensitivity testing would be beneficial when assessing treatment options. The source of the isolates affected the estimated MIC, suggesting that selection of isolates for monitoring of resistance requires care and that use of routine submissions to commercial laboratories to assess antimicrobial resistance patterns may result in biased estimates of prevalence of resistance.

Access to the full text of this article is available:

through another providers website:

If you're a member or subscriber and believe you should have access:



Register for an account

Request new password

The whole of the literary matter of the New Zealand Veterinary Journal is copyright Taylor and Francis, Downloading this article signifies agreement with the terms and conditions of electronic access.