AMR Organisms in Pet Food
People often refer to their cats and dogs as part of the family. The bonds shared between companion animals and humans is very close and just like the bonds between family members, many things are shared, potentially including multi-drug resistant bacteria.
The rise in multi-drug resistant microorganisms extends beyond a human’s overuse of antimicrobials. What is an antimicrobial? It’s a drug with natural or synthetic origin used to kill or stop the growth of microorganisms (i.e., bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites). They include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics. There is evidence showing that pet food can fuel the spread of multi-drug resistant organisms.1 Other cases show the spread of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) organisms from pet store puppies.2 This should serve as more proof that these superbugs should be considered an international and interspecies concern.
AMR Testing in Food Quality Control
Pathogenic and resistant organisms may reside in the animal or human intestine without consequence, but as opportunistic pathogens, could make minor injuries or infections potentially deadly. Culture and sensitivity testing is used to determine the type of infection, bacteria present, and most appropriate antibiotic required to treat the infection.
It is not common practice to screen for AMR markers as part of pet food quality control measures. Most AMR testing is largely performed as a phenotypic test and most often following an outbreak. If more specific and rapid quality control testing strategies could be implemented for AMR in specified organisms at the time of manufacture, it is quite possible that the spread of multi-drug resistant organisms could be reduced between animal and human populations.
While most pet food manufacturers do an excellent job of screening for microbial bioburdens and absence of objectionable organisms, culture and sensitivity testing introduces inevitable delays into both production and incident response. There is also a growing trend of feeding companion animals with raw pet food, particularly in Europe, making the deployment of more rapid and scalable testing platforms increasingly critical.
Automated, Point-of-Care Bacterial and AMR Marker Testing
LexaGene’s MiQLab™ System offers commercialized assays for the detection of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance genes in companion animals at the point of care. More importantly, the MiQLab Open Access technology can be applied towards the application of detection of AMRs and should be evaluated for use prior to the distribution of pet food potentially containing AMR microbes.
Download our MiQLab™ Bacterial and AMR Test: Enabling Evidence-Based Treatment Decisions brochure to learn more.