2083-A: Stemming the Growing Epidemic of Drug Resistant Bacteria

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,112.2
Ameet Singh, DVM; University of Guelph
August 1, 2013 - July 31, 2014

Sponsor(s): Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, Gordon Setter Club of America, Worcester County Kennel Club

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Immunology and Infectious Disease
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The international epidemic of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria is contributing to an increase in surgical site infections (SSIs) in veterinary patients. Of particular concern in dogs has been the emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP). This bacterium has recently emerged as the leading cause of SSIs in dogs around the world. Reasons for the rapid emergence of this highly drug resistant bacterium are not known, but one possible cause is biofilm production. A biofilm is a complex community of embedded bacteria within a self-produced 'slime' matrix attached to a biological or non-biological surface. Being encased in a biofilm matrix protects bacteria from the patients' immune system and the effect of antimicrobials. Aggressive biofilm production has been hypothesized as one of the reasons for the dramatic and widespread emergence of MRSP internationally. Preliminary investigation performed by Dr. Singh revealed that most MRSP isolates from dogs are strong biofilm producers. Dr. Singh proposes to determine the expression of a family of genes related to biofilm formation by MRSP on materials that are commonly used in veterinary surgery. Defining the mechanism by which these bacteria are able to form their biofilms will identify new therapeutic targets to treat resistant bacteria and aid in the development of preventative treatments that will help control the growing epidemic of MDR bacteria.


Crawford, E. C., Singh, A., Gibson, T. W. G., & Weese, J. S. (2016). Biofilm-Associated Gene Expression in Staphylococcus pseudintermedius on a Variety of Implant Materials: Biofilm Gene Expression on Implant Surfaces. Veterinary Surgery, 45(4), 499–506. https://doi.org/10.1111/vsu.12471
Crawford, E. C., Singh, A., Metcalf, D., Gibson, T. W., & Weese, S. J. (2014). Identification of appropriate reference genes for qPCR studies in Staphylococcus pseudintermedius and preliminary assessment of icaA gene expression in biofilm-embedded bacteria. BMC Research Notes, 7(1), 451. https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-7-451

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