The effect of urine storage temperature and boric acid preservation on quantitative bacterial culture for diagnosing canine urinary tract infection

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Abstract

Background: Quantitative bacterial culture (QBC) is the gold standard for diagnosing canine urinary tract infection. Current guidelines recommend QBC within 24 h of urine collection and that unpreserved urine is refrigerated until culture. However, temperature-controlled transport is rarely feasible, indicating a need for alternative storage during transport of urine from primary veterinary practices to the microbiology laboratory. The objective was to investigate the effect of storage temperature and boric acid sponge-preservation on quantitative bacterial culture of canine urine. Results: Significant bacteriuria was detected in 72 out of 179 samples (40%) collected from 141 dogs. Overall accuracy was 94–98% for both storage conditions and time points. Non-inferiority (15% margin) to reference quantitative bacterial culture was evident for sensitivity, specificity and predictive values for both storage methods and time points, except for the negative predictive value for 48 h boric acid preservation (NPV: 89, 95% CI [79;95]). There was no significant difference between the sensitivity and specificity for either of the time-points (p-value = 0.07–1). Conclusions: Boric acid sponge-preservation using Uriswab™ is a useful alternative to refrigeration of urine samples during transport. Reliable quantitative bacterial culture results can be obtained from canine urine up to 48 h after collection if urine is refrigerated, and for at least 24 h if urine is stored using a boric acid-containing urine transport system.

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Hedström, M., Møller, M., Patsekhina, H., Damborg, P., Jessen, L. R., & Sørensen, T. M. (2021). The effect of urine storage temperature and boric acid preservation on quantitative bacterial culture for diagnosing canine urinary tract infection. BMC Veterinary Research, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-021-03083-6

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