Contributors: Kathleen P Freeman, Kenneth Simpson
Species: Feline | Classification: Lab Tests
- Bacterial infections can cause severe diarrhea, especially in young animals.
- Fecal culture identifies these bacteria and, with sensitivity testing, can suggest effective antimicrobial therapy.
- Identification of bacterial causes of enteritis.
- Identification of intestinal carriers of zoonotic bacteria, eg Salmonella spp Salmonella spp, Campylobacter spp Campylobacter jejuni, Yersina spp and possisbly certain types of E. coli and Clostridia spp (pathogenicity not well established in cats for GI disease).
Source of Test Material
- Rectal sample or freshly-voided feces.
- Standard hygiene.
- Transport medium swabs ( rectal swab) or sterile container (feces or diarrhea sample).
- Refrigerate if sample is not being posted/processed immediately.
- Package according to mailing Regulations Transportation of diagnostic specimen.
- Growth on selective and nonselective media with identification of significant colonies.
- Widely available.
Technique (Intrinsic) Limitations
- May have false negative cultures when pathogens present.
Technician (Extrinsic) Limitations
- Requires special knowledge and techniques for accurate isolation and identification of potential pathogens.
Normal (Reference) Values
- Escherichia coli Escherichia coli, Campylobacter spp Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella spp and Clostridium spp may be isolated from healthy cats.
- Serotyping of E. coli isolates may be necessary before a result is considered significant, especially in adult.
- Unknown significance of enteric E. coli in cats, unless septicemia or neonatal colibacillosis in kittens.
Errors and Artifacts
- False negative culture results: if treatment with antimicrobials before sampling.
- False negative culture results: if sample handled or transported inappropriately.