Why is bacteriological examination sometimes necessary in animals?
Is your pet being treated for a general illness or injury?
It may be necessary to take a sample for bacteriological examination. This will then be sent together with the application form to the Trutnov Hospital, where it will be examined in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory.
Is that even necessary?
As in human medicine, many infections in veterinary medicine can be treated empirically – based on knowledge of the most common causes, symptoms and therapy. However, it is not always appropriate to rely on experience. There are several such indications for bacteriological examination:
One of them is recurrent infections, wounds, decubitus ulcers or fistulas. If the pet has been treated with antibiotics in the past and the infection keeps returning, it is advisable to find out the causative bacteria. The bacteriological examination will also determine how much antibiotics should be administered in order to definitively remove this particular bacteria from the patient’s body.
Other times when your veterinarian will recommend that a microbiology lab test be performed are life-threatening conditions such as acute osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bones and bone marrow), when sepsis (presence of bacteria in the bloodstream) is suspected, or when pus is present in the pleural cavity or fluid in the abdominal cavity.
There are other situations in which a bacteriological examination will do the patient, the client and the veterinarian a good service. These are respiratory infections in rabbits or chronic pneumonia, for example.
Why is bacteriological testing useful for everyone?
The veterinarian will learn which species of bacteria is causing the patient’s illness (often more than one), which antibiotics this particular strain is resistant to (antibiotic resistance can vary, for example, depending on where the animal became infected), and exactly what dosage to choose to cure the infection definitively.
The patient can receive effective antibiotics immediately, for which his liver and kidneys are especially grateful. Reducing the treatment time is a benefit for everyone.
The client learns if he or she can get infected from the animal and saves time and money thanks to the shortened treatment time.
A final benefit of targeted antibiotic treatment is that it reduces the likelihood of new bacterial resistance to antibiotics – and thus increases the chance that we will still have something to treat the next time we get infected. Antibiotic treatment is something we take for granted in the 21st century – about as commonplace as a hot shower in the evening, a microwave in the kitchen or public transport. But increasingly, bacterial resistance to antibiotics is emerging, and in many cases it has its origins in veterinary medicine. (Zdravotnický deník, 2016)
Additional resources on antibiotic therapy, bacterial resistance to antibiotics and related topics:
Státní veterinární správa, 2022: Národní antibiotický program
WSAVA, 2020: Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) – A must for every companion animal practice
FECAVA, 2020: World Antimicrobial Awareness Week