Recognizing that many chronic infections in livestock are caused by bacteria in a biofilm state, the project has developed a technology that cantest biofilm bacteria susceptibility to different antibiotics. Current testing (minimum inhibitory concentration or MIC) does not do this and instead tests bacteria as free-floating entities. It is widely known that biofilm bacteria can be up to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than free-floating bacteria. A biofilm susceptibility test therefore mimics how the bacteria exist in an animal’s body. Current susceptibility tests do not address the biofilm nature of chronic infections, potentially causing the wrong antibiotics to be selected, resulting in treatment failures, hardships to the animal, costs to the system and propagation of antibiotic resistant bacteria. This important distinction differentiates the solution being developed from traditional testing and improves the selection of the right antibiotic the first time.
This project successfully created a Gram positive biofilm susceptibility panel focussed on dairy cattle mastitis isolates. Mastitis is the most costly disease in dairy cattle and is common to every herd. Mastitis is a major disease of economic importance in dairy cattle leading to a 30-40% loss in milk production. The direct cost of mastitis is estimated at about $350 per cow and up to $5,250 per year for a farmer with 100 cows. These costs result from decreased milk production, premature culling, cost of treatment, increased labor and veterinary costs. Mastitis cases are usually difficult to treat as the bacteria involved form biofilms, which may explain the chronic nature of the disease. The increased incidence of antibiotic resistance in general means that the problem could grow.
The project carried out biofilm susceptibility testing with 50 dairy mastitis isolates from the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network (CBMRN) including 25 S. aureus, 10 S. dysgalactiae, 10 S. uberis, 4 S. agalactiae, and 1 MRSA against single and combination antibiotics approved by CLSI and the FDA for use in dairy mastitis using the panel. 42 clinical isolates were susceptible to the antibiotics. The Gram positive dairy mastitis panel demonstrated a 97% success rate against Gram positive dairy mastitis clinical isolates.
The Gram positive biofilm dairy mastitis panel will advise veterinarians of what antibiotics to use against cattle mastitis and would improve the clinical efficacy and outcome of antibiotic therapy in dairy mastitis. The adoption of susceptibility testing prior to the prescription of antibiotics by veterinarians will go a long way to improve the general cost of managing dairy mastitis since the right antibiotics will be administered at the first try. Successful treatment will then lead to an improvement in the quality and production of milk, reduced premature culling and general savings in the health of livestock and the cost effectiveness of health care. Successful treatment will also drastically reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance. Beyond dairy applications, the results of the project point to the viability of biofilm susceptibility testing as a guide to the prescription of antibiotics in animals as a whole. This assay is a potential solution to treatment failures and the development of antibiotic resistance in animals.
The next steps of this project will be to present this product to veterinarians, academics and key opinion leaders in trade shows, conferences, workshops, seminars or in publications and subsequently carry out a market launch of the product. A proof-of-concept study demonstrating a healthy outcome following the use of the panel will improve the chances of this new panel in the veterinary market.
Investment in this project has been provided in part through Industry Councils from Ontario and Alberta which deliver the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
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For more information, please contact:
Project Manager and Business Development Officer
Advanced Foods and Materials Canada
Tel: 1-519-822-6253 x56447