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Bacteria commonly isolated from the vagina of healthy bitches include: Escherichia coli, Streptococcus canis, Pasteurella multocida, Staphylococcus aureus, S taphylococcus pseudintermedius and haemolytic Streptococcus species (Olson and Mather 1978, Allen and Dagnall 1982, Baba and others 1983). Some researchers advocate bacterial isolation in pure or 2-isolate mixed culture as an aid in the diagnosis of reproductive diseases (Hirsh and Wiger 1977, Bjurström 1993). However, there is limited data reporting pure or mixed bacterial cultures isolated during specific stages of the reproductive cycle in healthy bitches, which should complicate the interpretation of bacteriological findings. The true bacteriological status of the uterus remains unclear. Results of previous studies (Baba and others 1983, Watts and others 1996, Schultheiss and others 1999) differed on bacteria isolated, frequency of isolation and stage of reproductive cycle examined.
The aim of this study was to investigate vaginal and uterine bacterial flora in clinically healthy bitches during different stages of the reproductive cycle, and to correlate culture findings with gross and histologic lesions of the uterus.
Vaginal swabs, uterine swabs and uterine tissue samples from 40 clinically healthy bitches were collected for bacteriological, cytological and histological examination. Bitches of different breeds, ages and stages of the reproductive cycle were separated according to whether they were domestic (n = 20) or feral (n = 20).
The stage of the reproductive cycle was determined by history, physical examination and vaginal …