Clinical significance of aerobic bacterial flora of the uterus, vagina, vestibule, and clitoral fossa of clinically normal mares. Academic Article uri icon


  • Swab specimens for bacterial culture were obtained from the uterus, vagina, vestibule, and clitoral fossa of 48 mares that had normal reproductive tracts, no history of reproductive problems, and no inflammation on evaluation of endometrial biopsy. The mares were predominantly Thoroughbred and Standardbred. Swab specimens of the vagina were obtained through a sterile speculum; swab specimens of the uterus were obtained by use of a double-guarded, occluded culture instrument. Fifteen (31%) of the uterine swab specimens and 20 (42%) of the vaginal swab specimens yielded growth on aerobic culture; however, only 2 (4%) of the uterine swab specimens and 4 (8%) of the vaginal swab specimens yielded growth of more than 10 colonies. In contrast, 21 (44%) of the vestibular swab specimens and 45 (94%) of the clitoral fossa swab specimens had moderate (greater than 10 colonies in 1 quadrant) to heavy (colonies in 2 or 3 quadrants) growth of organisms on culture. Of organisms considered to be potential pathogens, Streptococcus zooepidemicus and Escherichia coli were found on bacteriologic culture of several clitoral fossa swab specimens and of some vestibular swab specimens. We did not isolate any potential pathogens from uterine or vaginal swab specimens. It appears that 1 to 10 colonies of nonpathogenic organisms could be recovered from the uterus in a substantial number of clinically normal mares even when double-guarded swabbing techniques are used, and we suggest that prebreeding culture requirements be modified to reflect this. Also, our findings indicate that the vulvovaginal fold, rather than the cervix, might be the major barrier to ascending bacterial contamination of the reproductive tract.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

published proceedings

  • J Am Vet Med Assoc

author list (cited authors)

  • Hinrichs, K., Cummings, M. R., Sertich, P. L., & Kenney, R. M.

citation count

  • 67

complete list of authors

  • Hinrichs, K||Cummings, MR||Sertich, PL||Kenney, RM

publication date

  • July 1988