The effect of boric acid on bacterial culture of canine and feline urine



Objective: To identify the optimal method of submission of canine and feline urine for bacterial culture.

Methods: Cystocentesis samples from 250 animals (200 dogs, 50 cats) suspected of having urinary tract infections were collected. The reference aliquot, without preservative, was processed on site within 2 hours. Two further aliquots (one without preservative, one with boric acid) were stored at room temperature for up to 7 hours and then posted by guaranteed next day delivery to a commercial laboratory for analysis.

Results: Forty-seven of the samples were positive on culture in the reference test. There was no significant difference between reference test results and those of samples posted without preservative (P=0·39), but samples posted in boric acid were significantly less likely to give a positive result (P=0·01). Samples posted without preservative had a sensitivity of 82% and a specificity of 98%; for boric acid, sensitivity was 73% and specificity 99%.

Clinical Significance: Postal urine samples should be submitted to the laboratory in a plain sterile tube.