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Research Note: Species Identification of Sepsis-Associated Bacteria

Clinical Pathology

|July/August 2021

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Early identification of the causative agent of bacteremia in a septic patient is critical. Standard bacterial culture takes ≥48 hours, and accuracy can be subject to variations in methodology. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a new method of identifying bacteria by their unique protein fingerprints. Results are usually available in ≈20 minutes. This study evaluated whether MALDI-TOF MS is a reliable tool for use in dogs and cats. Aseptically collected dog and cat blood was inoculated with reference samples of 6 common sepsis-inducing bacteria into a liquid blood-culture medium, which was then analyzed. Species identification obtained through MALDI-TOF MS as compared with classical microbiologic analysis was identical for all 72 samples tested. Investigators concluded that MALDI-TOF MS is reliable for identifying sepsis-inducing bacteria in dogs and cats.

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