This study was performed to determine a sampling strategy to quantify the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance on veal calf farms, based on the variation in antimicrobial resistance within and between calves on five farms. Faecal samples from 50 healthy calves (10 calves/farm) were collected. From each individual sample and one pooled faecal sample per farm, 90 selected Escherichia coli isolates were tested for their resistance against 25 mg/L amoxicillin, 25 mg/L tetracycline, 0.5 mg/L cefotaxime, 0.125 mg/L ciprofloxacin and 8/152 mg/L trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (tmp/s) by replica plating. From each faecal sample another 10 selected E. coli isolates were tested for their resistance by broth microdilution as a reference. Logistic regression analysis was performed to compare the odds of testing an isolate resistant between both test methods (replica plating vs. broth microdilution) and to evaluate the effect of pooling faecal samples. Bootstrap analysis was used to investigate the precision of the estimated prevalence of resistance to each antimicrobial obtained by several simulated sampling strategies. Replica plating showed similar odds of E. coli isolates tested resistant compared to broth microdilution, except for ciprofloxacin (OR 0.29, p=0.05). Pooled samples showed in general lower odds of an isolate being resistant compared to individual samples, although these differences were not significant. Bootstrap analysis showed that within each antimicrobial the various compositions of a pooled sample provided consistent estimates for the mean proportion of resistant isolates. Sampling strategies should be based on the variation in resistance among isolates within faecal samples and between faecal samples, which may vary by antimicrobial. In our study, the optimal sampling strategy from the perspective of precision of the estimated levels of resistance and practicality consists of a pooled faecal sample from 20 individual animals, of which 90 isolates are tested for their susceptibility by replica plating.
- fecal escherichia-coli
- food animals