Kara A. Kolster, DVM, DACT, Springfield Veterinary Center, Glen Allen, Virginia
Kara A. Kolster
DVM, DACTSpringfield Veterinary Center, Glen Allen, Virginia
Kara A. Kolster, DVM, DACT, practices at Springfield Veterinary Center in Glen Allen, Virginia. Dr. Kolster earned her DVM and completed a residency in theriogenology at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. During her residency, she completed research on the relationship between hypothyroidism and reproduction in female dogs. Her clinical interests are in canine reproduction, acupuncture, and preventive wellness care.
FIGURE 2 Parabasal (noncornified) vaginal epithelial cells consistent with proestrus
Cytology of discharge is not diagnostic; true vaginal cytology is thus important.
Contamination of the cytology swab by the external vulvar lips or the vestibule can yield cornified epithelial cells, neutrophils, and/or bacteria. A clean otoscope cone can be used as a speculum to avoid contamination.
To avoid contamination, samples for culture should always be obtained using a double-guarded swab.
Presence of neutrophils and bacteria on vaginal cytology or bacterial growth on a culture does not necessarily indicate infection, as there is an array of normal vaginal flora. Diagnostic results should be correlated with clinical findings, and antibiotics should only be used when appropriate. Most dogs have some growth on culture, but heavy growth of a single organism and/or growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are suggestive of pathologic infection. Growth of mixed flora with broad-spectrum antibiotic susceptibility is suggestive of normal flora.
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