Bacterial cultures collected over 12 yr from stranded harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) pups and weanlings located in the North Puget Sound and San Juan Islands region of Washington were analyzed retrospectively to determine the most common pathogenic isolates and to describe their antimicrobial resistance patterns. Culture attempts (n = 58) from wounds, umbilici, ears, conjunctiva, nares, oral lesions, and feces yielded 134 pathogenic isolates that represented 17 genera. The majority of isolates were Gram-negative (n = 87; 65%) and of the tested isolates were most susceptible to amikacin (n = 76; 99%) and gentamicin (n = 76; 97%) and least susceptible to ampicillin (n = 76; 26%). Of the Gram-positive isolates tested (n = 29), all were susceptible to amoxicillin/clavulanic acid. The most frequent isolates were Escherichia coli (17%), β-hemolytic Streptococcus spp. (15%), Enterococcus spp. (11%), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (11%), with all four exhibiting resistance to more than 50% of the antimicrobials tested. The variety of organisms isolated, the variation in either Gram-negative or Gram-positive predominance, and the multiple drug resistance patterns observed suggest that when treating stranded harbor seals, culture and sensitivity testing are warranted and that antibiotic therapy should be based on results.
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Vol. 37 • No. 3