Improved bacterial identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing

Charles Sturt University

  • Project code: PRJ-011233

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, September 28, 2018

  • Project completion date: Thursday, December 31, 2020

  • National Priority: HOR-Thoroughbred diseases and parasites


This project will generate epidemiological data on the bacterial species associated with different infectiousdiseases in horses in south eastern Australia, and the antimicrobial drugs to which these isolates are susceptible.
This information is of vital importance to equine veterinarians as treatment is often, of necessity, initiated prior to receipt of laboratory results from individual patients. In such cases, the best available information on which to base drug selection is data from similar patients in the same location. This data is simply not available in Australia, and extrapolation of findings from other parts of the world is likely to be misleading. Collation of such data over time allows recognition of changes in antimicrobial susceptibility, which is critical for recognition of the emergence of
antibiotic resistance in bacteria. A second outcome from this study will be comparison of more advanced laboratory techniques available for the identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of bacterial isolates with those more traditionally used in veterinary diagnostic laboratories. If the difference between existing and advanced techniques is trivial the expense of ‘upgrading’ existing laboratory practices would be unjustified. However, these techniques promise efficiencies in sample handling, more rapid ‘turn-around time’ and greater accuracy which are potential advantages to equine veterinarians in offering improved treatment to their patients and better outcomes for horse owners.


Thoroughbred Horses

Research Organisation

Charles Sturt University

Objective Summary

This project will inform improved diagnosis and treatment of bacterial disease in horses. Targeted antimicrobial treatment, based on accurate identification of organisms present and precise knowledge of their likely antimicrobial susceptibility, has been shown to improve the outcome of clinical cases and to reduce the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Hence this project will contribute to better care of horses with bacterial disease, as well as supporting the judicious use of antimicrobials. Improved stewardship of antimicrobials, achieved by using antimicrobials only when necessary, at effective doses and for an appropriate length of time, has important implications for human health, as well as for horses. Hence this project will contribute to objectives 2 (reduced incidence and impact of diseases of horses) and 3 (improved safety of industry participants), due to the expected benefits to horse and human health.