Horses, like humans, face health risks associated with hospitalization. They can get health care-associated infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and this may occur even when they haven’t been treated with antibiotics.

A new study at UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine is exploring how and why this may happen. Led by Dr. Brandy Burgess, principal investigator and associate professor, a team of researchers is using genetic sequencing technology to compare the bacterial communities in fecal samples with the hospital environment, allowing them to see if potentially harmful bacteria and their antibiotic resistance genes are shared between the Veterinary Teaching Hospital environment and hospitalized horses.

The study’s results will help guide veterinary policies and practices to keep horses safe.