Small Animal Internal Medicine

Research Abstract

R01 - Blood Cultures as Minimally Invasive Surrogates in Diagnosis of Canine Bacterial Pneumonia: A Pilot Study

Friday, June 15
8:00 AM - 8:15 AM
Location: WSCC 615

Despite risk and expense, cytology and culture of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) are essential for correct identification and treatment of bacterial pneumonia. Blood cultures could be a minimally-invasive alternative to BALF culture. The study objective was to determine agreement between cultivable bacteria in BALF and blood in canine bacterial pneumonia.


Six client-owned dogs with bacterial pneumonia having BALF with septic suppurative inflammation and/or positive aerobic/anaerobic cultures were prospectively enrolled. Blood cultures were obtained within 2 hours of BALF collection. Exclusion criteria included antibiotics (prior 14 days) and weight < 8kg (ensuring adequate blood volume collection for culture).


Clinical signs included fever (n=6), cough (5), tachypnea (3), regurgitation (2), ptyalism (1), hematemesis (1), and hemoptysis (1). On CBC, peripheral neutrophilia (2) and neutropenia (1) were noted; bands or neutrophil toxicity were common (5). On BALF cytology, degenerate neutrophils (4/6) and intracellular bacteria (3/6) were observed. Secondary bacterial pneumonia (4) was associated with multiple (3/4) or single (1/4) organisms on BALF culture: Escherichia coli (2), Pseudomonas putida (2), Klebsiella pneumoniae (1), Streptococcus canis (1), Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (1), Achromobacter xylosoxidans (1), Pseudomonas oleovorans (1). Primary/community-acquired pneumonia (2) had single organisms identified in culture (Pasturella canis and Haemophilus haemoglobinophilus). Only 1/6 blood cultures were positive with both blood and BALF having E. coli, Klebsiella pneumonia and Streptococcus canis. Three dogs were euthanized; three dogs recovered completely.


Blood cultures appear insensitive as surrogates for BALF cultures in canine bacterial pneumonia. Future analysis of banked BALF and blood for microbiome analysis in these dogs may prove more rewarding.

Aida I. Vientós-Plotts

Small Animal Internal Medicine Resident
University Of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine

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