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Cytology or culture in dogs with otitis externa?
This question is raised daily in small animal practice: Cytology offers quick, easy and inexpensive identification of the organisms involved in the otitis. But does it correlate with bacterial or mycological cultures? 100 samples were examined and find only an 68% agreement.

Otic exudate was obtained from 33 dogs with otitis externa for cytopathology and culture.

Two samples were taken from the same location in the external ear canal, for a total of 100 samples.

Thirty-six (36%) samples isolated only a single organism, of which 21 (21%) were Malassezia spp. Two organisms were present in 23 (23%) of the samples.

Cultures of the two samples agreed in 40 (80%) of the 50 pairs.
Cytopathology agreed with culture results only 68% of the time.

Cytopathology and culture may not be as definitive as previously assumed because of apparent variability of the microbial population within the external canal.

Source: Christine A. Graham-Mize, Edmund J. Rosser (2004): Comparison of Microbial Isolates and Susceptibility Patterns From the External Ear Canal of Dogs With Otitis Externa. In: Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 40:102-108 (2004)





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