Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



J Appl Microbiol. 2022;133:1940–1955. DOI: 10.1111/jam.15691


Open Access.


Aims: Our objective was to determine how injectable antimicrobials affected populations of Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. in feedlot cattle.

Methods and Results: Two arrival date blocks of high-risk crossbred beef cattle (n = 249; mean BW = 244 kg) were randomly assigned one of four antimicrobial treatments administered on day 0: sterile saline control (CON), tulathromycin (TUL), ceftiofur (CEF) or florfenicol (FLR). Faecal samples were collected on days 0, 28, 56, 112, 182 and study end (day 252 for block 1 and day 242 for block 2). Hide swabs and subiliac lymph nodes were collected the day before and the day of harvest. Samples were cultured for antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. The effect of treatment varied by day across all targeted bacterial populations (p ≤ 0.01) except total E. coli. Total E. coli counts were greatest on days 112, 182 and study end (p ≤ 0.01). Tulathromycin resulted in greater counts and prevalence of Salmonella from faeces than CON at study end (p ≤ 0.01). Tulathromycin and CEF yielded greater Salmonella hide prevalence and greater counts of 128ERYR E. coli at study end than CON (p ≤ 0.01). No faecal Salmonella resistant to tetracyclines or third-generation cephalosporins were detected. Ceftiofur was associated with greater counts of 8ERYR Enterococcus spp. at study end (p ≤ 0.03). By the day before harvest, antimicrobial use did not increase prevalence or counts for all other bacterial populations compared with CON (p ≥ 0.13).

Conclusions: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in feedlot cattle is not caused solely by using a metaphylactic antimicrobial on arrival, but more likely a multitude of environmental and management factors.