U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Agga GE, Schmidt JW, Arthur TM. 2016. Effects of in-feed chlortetracycline prophylaxis in beef cattle on animal health and antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli. Appl Environ Microbiol 82:7197–7204.


U.S. Government Work


Concerns have been raised that in-feed chlortetracycline (CTC) may increase antimicrobial resistance (AMR), specifically tetracycline-resistant (TETr) Escherichia coli and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant (3GCr) E. coli. We evaluated the impact of a 5-day in-feed CTC prophylaxis on animal health, TETr E. coli, and 3GCr E. coli. A control group of cattle (n = 150) received no CTC, while a CTC group (n=150) received in-feed CTC (10 mg/lb of body weight/day) from the 5th to the 9th day after feedlot arrival. Over 25% (38/150) of the animals in the control group developed illnesses requiring therapeutic treatment with antimicrobials critically important to human medicine. Only two animals (1.3%) in the CTC group required such treatments. Fecal swab and pen surface occurrences of generic E. coli (isolated on media that did not contain antimicrobials of interest and were not isolated based on any specific resistance), TETr E. coli, and 3GCr E. coli were determined on five sampling occasions: arrival at the feedlot, 5 days posttreatment (5 dpt), 27 dpt, 75 dpt, and 117 dpt. On 5 dpt, TETr E. coli concentrations were higher for the CTC group than the control group (Pr E. coli concentrations did not differ between groups. 3GCr E. coli occurrences did not differ between control and CTC groups on any sampling occasion. For both groups, generic, TETr, and 3GCr E. coli occurrences were highest on 75 dpt and 117 dpt, suggesting that factors other than in-feed CTC contributed more significantly to antimicrobial-resistant E. coli occurrence.