Antibiotic resistance (AR) is a growing public health concern worldwide, and it is a top health challenge in the 21st century. AR among Enterobacteriaceae is rapidly increasing, especially in third-generation cephalosporins and carbapenems. Further, strains carrying mobilized colistin resistance (mcr) genes 1 and 2 have been isolated from humans, food-producing animals, and the environment. The uncontrolled use of antibiotics in food-producing animals is a major factor in the generation and spread of AR. No studies have been done to evaluate AR in the veterinary sector of Qatar. This study aimed at establishing primary baseline data for the prevalence of AR among food-producing animals in Qatar. Fecal samples (172) were obtained from two broiler farms and one live bird market in Qatar, and 90 commensal Escherichia coli bacteria were isolated and subjected to susceptibility testing against 16 clinically relevant antibiotics by using the E-test method. The results found that 81 (90%) of 90 isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic, 14 (15.5%) of 90 isolates were colistin resistant, 2 (2.2%) of 90 isolates were extended-spectrum β-lactamase producers, and 2 (2.2%) of 90 isolates were multidrug resistant to four antibiotic classes. Extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing E. coli and colistin-resistant isolates were confirmed by using double-disc susceptibility testing and PCR, respectively. Such a high prevalence of antibiotic-resistant E. coli could be the result of a long application of antibiotic treatment, and it is an indicator of the antibiotic load in food-producing animals in Qatar. Pathogens carrying AR can be easily transmitted to humans through consumption of undercooked food or noncompliance with hygiene practices, mandating prompt development and implementation of a stewardship program to control and monitor the use of antibiotics in the community and agriculture.

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