Subclinical bacteriuria in cats: prevalence, findings on contemporaneous urinalyses and clinical risk factors. Academic Article uri icon


  • Objectives Subclinical bacteriuria (SB) is bacterial colonization of the urinary tract in the absence of clinical signs. The purposes of this study were to determine the prevalence of SB in cats and to describe results of the contemporaneous urinalysis. Secondarily, patient characteristics associated with SB were compared with those for cats without SB. Methods An electronic search identified all urine cultures performed on cats at a teaching hospital between 2009 and 2015. Results were subcategorized based on the presence or absence of lower urinary tract disease (LUTD) and SB-positive cases identified. The first control population was from samples without LUTD. The second control population was from all samples not identified as a SB-positive sample, including subclinical negative samples and those with LUTD. Five controls for each SB-positive sample were selected for both control groups. Medical records for all groups were reviewed. Results In all, 31/500 (6.2%) subclinical samples were positive. Most infections were a single organism (n = 27); four contained multiple organisms. Escherichia coli was the most common species (58%) followed by Enterococcus species (25%). Positive specimens were more likely to be from female cats (n = 24) vs male (n = 7; P = 0.0054). SB was strongly associated with bacteriuria (60% vs 6%; P <0.0001) and pyuria (67% vs 19%; P <0.0001). Positive specimens were significantly more likely to have an abnormal sediment examination (odds ratio 13.5, P <0.0001). When compared with all specimens including those with LUTD, SB was significantly associated with a lower urine specific gravity (1.022 vs 1.030; P = 0.0256) and presence of chronic kidney disease (68% vs 46%; P = 0.0168). Conclusions and relevance In this study, SB appears to be uncommon in cats and, in most cases, is associated with an abnormal urine sediment examination. Based on this study, there is little indication to perform a culture in a cat with no clinical signs of LUTD and an unremarkable sediment examination.

published proceedings

  • J Feline Med Surg

altmetric score

  • 8

author list (cited authors)

  • Puchot, M. L., Cook, A. K., & Pohlit, C.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Puchot, Melanie L||Cook, Audrey K||Pohlit, Caitlin

publication date

  • December 2017