Objective—To determine the prevalence of 4 urovirulence genes in fecal Escherichia coli isolates from healthy dogs and their owners and to determine whether detection of E coli strains with these genes was associated with a history of urinary tract infection (UTI).
Sample Population—61 healthy dog-owner pairs and 30 healthy non–dog owners.
Procedures—A fecal specimen was obtained from each participant, and 3 colonies of E coli were isolated from each specimen. A multiplex PCR assay was used to detect 4 genes encoding virulence factors: cytotoxic necrotizing factor (cnf), hemolysin (hlyD), s-fimbrial and F1C fimbriae adhesin (sfa/foc), and pilus associated with pyelonephritis G allele III (papGIII). Human participants completed a questionnaire to provide general information and any history of UTI for themselves and, when applicable, their dog.
Results—26% (16/61) of dogs, 18% (11/61) of owners, and 20% (6/30) of non–dog owners had positive test results for ≥ 1 E coli virulence gene. One or more genes were identified in fecal E coli isolates of both dog and owner in 2% (1/61) of households. There was no difference in the detection of any virulence factor between dog-owner pairs. Female owner history of UTI was associated with detection of each virulence factor in E coli strains isolated from their dogs' feces.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dogs and humans harbored fecal E coli strains possessing the genes cnf, hlyD, sfa/foc, and papGIII that encode urovirulence factors. It was rare for both dog and owner to have fecal E coli strains with these virulence genes.
Objective—To determine prevalence of within-household sharing of fecal Escherichia coli between dogs and their owners on the basis of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), compare antimicrobial susceptibility between isolates from dogs and their owners, and evaluate epidemiologic features of cross-species sharing by use of a questionnaire.
Sample Population—61 healthy dog-owner pairs and 30 healthy control humans.
Procedures—3 fecal E coli colonies were isolated from each participant; PFGE profiles were used to establish relatedness among bacterial isolates. Susceptibility to 17 antimicrobials was determined via disk diffusion. A questionnaire was used to evaluate signalment, previous antimicrobial therapy, hygiene, and relationship with dog.
Results—A wide array of PFGE profiles was observed in E coli isolates from all participants. Within-household sharing occurred with 9.8% prevalence, and across-household sharing occurred with 0.3% prevalence. No behaviors were associated with increased clonal sharing between dog and owner. No differences were found in susceptibility results between dog-owner pairs. Control isolates were more likely than canine isolates to be resistant to ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Owners and control humans carried more multdrug-resistant E coli than did dogs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Within-household sharing of E coli was detected more commonly than across-household sharing, but both direct contact and environmental reservoirs may be routes of cross-species sharing of bacteria and genes for resistance. Cross-species bacterial sharing is a potential public health concern, and good hygiene is recommended.