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For the clients

When and why is it necessary to perform a bacterial or a fungal culture?

When is it necessary to perform a bacterial culture and sensitivity test?

The dermatologist may decide to perform a bacterial culture and sensitivity test when:

  • the superficial/mild bacterial infection is recurrent or does not respond to prescribed antibiotic therapy
  • the bacterial infection is deep/severe and targeted antibiotic therapy should be chosen
  • when a ‘sterile’ disease is suspected and it must be confirmed that it is indeed sterile

When is it necessary to perform a culture for dermatophytes?

It is always advisable to perform a culture examination for dermatophytes:

  • in cats with multiple areas of alopecia especially if they come from feline colonies or have recently been in places where other cats were present
  • in cats being treated with antifungal agents to decide when to discontinue therapy
  • in hunting dogs with alopecia and crusts on the face

Is the collection for the culture test painful?

It depends on the sampling method.

  • If the sampling is done with a swab it usually does not cause any discomfort to the animal.
  • If the sample is taken by needle aspiration it can be uncomfortable, but if your pet is qiet neither anaesthesia nor sedation is necessary.
  • In the case of deep lesions it may be necessary to take a skin sample with biopsy and then perform bacterial culture of the tissue. In this case, the skin sample must be taken under local or general anaesthesia, following the same procedure as for a biopsy.

How should I prepare my dog/cat when it is to be sampled for a bacterial or fungal culture?

The animal must not be washed or treated with drugs or local antiseptics at the lesions to be sampled and any ongoing antibiotic treatment must have been discontinued for at least 10 days.

If general anaesthesia is to be used, preoperative blood tests are needed. In this case the animal must have been fasting for 12 hours from food.


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