Genomic analysis reveals new resistance gene variation in pet pathogen

Insight into the diversity of antibiotic resistance genes could aid in developing effective surveillance and interventions.

A team of experts from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute have detailed the discovery of two new gene combinations in common bacteria affecting cats and dogs.

Findings reveal previously undiscovered gene combinations relating to a genetic element that plays a crucial role in the development of antibiotic resistance in staphylococcal bacteria.

The bacteria studied, Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, is a significant pathogen that can affect pets, causing a range of infections, particularly affecting the animals’ skin. 

This bacterium is also known for its ability to acquire multiple drug resistance, and can spread from animals to humans, posing challenges for treatment in both veterinary and human medicine.

Genetic insights

Genome sequencing of clinical samples collected from infected wounds of pets seen at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ Hospital for Small Animals revealed the presence of two new gene combinations in a mobile genetic element known as SCCmec, responsible for developing antibiotic resistance.

Discovering new gene combinations in SCCmec can help scientists gain insights into how bacteria evolve resistance mechanisms, which is vital for developing effective strategies to combat the problem of antibiotic resistance. 

Resistance and One Health

The discovery of new gene combinations relevant to antibiotic resistance also raises the potential for bacteria to transfer resistance genes across species boundaries.

These results emphasise the importance of adopting a One Health approach and monitoring antibiotic resistance in both veterinary and human medicine, the research team suggest.

Moving forward, the researchers plan to expand their surveillance efforts, utilising genome sequencing to routinely monitor antibiotic resistance in veterinary pathogens.


Understanding the diversity and characteristics of SCCmec elements is crucial for tracking antibiotic resistance patterns and developing strategies to combat infections caused by resistant bacteria."

The findings of this study underscore the dynamic nature of antibiotic resistance and the need for continued vigilance in combating multidrug-resistant infections in both animals and humans


This research was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy in an article entitled 'Methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus pseudintermedius encoded within novel staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) variants'.