Comparison of bacteriologic culture results for skin wound swabs and skin wound biopsy specimens. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To compare bacteriologic culture results for superficial swab and tissue biopsy specimens obtained from dogs with open skin wounds. ANIMALS: 52 client-owned dogs. PROCEDURES: For each dog, 1 wound underwent routine preparation prior to collection of 2 specimens, 1 by superficial swab (Levine) technique and 1 by tissue biopsy. Specimens were processed for bacteriologic culture. Two observers determined whether any detected difference in culture results for the 2 types of specimen would have resulted in differing treatment plans. RESULTS: Culture results of swab and tissue biopsy specimens were identical in 11/52 (21.2%) cases. Tissue biopsy specimen and swab cultures yielded positive results for 44 (84.6%) and 40 (76.9%) wounds, respectively. With regard to mean recovery rates of bacteria from wounds with positive culture results, both the biopsy specimens and swabs yielded 3.4 bacterial species/wound. All wounds for which swab cultures yielded no growth also had negative culture results for biopsy specimens. Biopsy specimen and swab culture results were in agreement with regard to the most common bacteria cultured. In 7/52 (13%) wounds, the observers would have treated the patient differently on the basis of the results of the 2 cultures. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results indicated that culture of a swab collected by the Levine technique is an appropriate noninvasive alternative to culture of a tissue biopsy specimen. A negative result obtained from culture of a swab is likely to be reliable. Disagreement between the results of swab and tissue biopsy specimen cultures is likely of low clinical importance.

published proceedings

  • J Am Vet Med Assoc

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Stokes, R. A., Coleman, M. C., Rogovskyy, A. S., Dickerson, V. M., & Thieman Mankin, K. M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Stokes, Rebecca A||Coleman, Michelle C||Rogovskyy, Artem S||Dickerson, Vanna M||Thieman Mankin, Kelley M

publication date

  • January 2021