The prevalence of positive urine cultures in 100 dogs with an inactive urine sediment

  • Rachel Liebelt
  • Armi Pigott



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Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of positive quantitative urine cultures in dogs with an inactive urine sediment.

Background: A urinalysis is a useful screening tool for the evaluation of evidence of bacterial cystitis and a quantitative urine culture is used for definitive diagnosis.

Evidentiary value: A retrospective chart review from June 2012 to December 2017 at three private practice emergency and specialty referral hospitals examined urine samples obtained from 100 client-owned dogs.

Methods: The signalment and clinicopathologic data was recorded for all canine patients that had urine samples obtained by cystocentesis that had an inactive sediment exam on urinalysis and subsequent quantitative urine cultures were performed.

Results: The prevalence of positive quantitative urine cultures in all dogs with an inactive urine sediment at the aforementioned institutions was 6% (6/100). Escherichia coli was the most commonly isolated bacteria.

Conclusion: Given the low prevalence of positive quantitative urine cultures in dogs with an inactive urine sediment and current guideline recommendations for management of subclinical bacteriuria, we do not recommend urine cultures for dogs without lower urinary tract signs. Further prospective study of patient subgroups, as well as controlled studies evaluating urine sample handling techniques using methods available to private practice practitioners are sorely needed.

Application: Emergency and general practicing veterinarians should consider a quantitative urine culture for dogs with lower urinary tract signs, even with an inactive sediment examination, and on a case-by-case basis for dogs with pertinent systemic diseases or known risk factors for bacterial cystitis.


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