Objective: To investigate the effect of topically applied proparacaine on bacterial and fungal culture results and to compare cytologic and culture results in patients with ulcerative keratitis. Procedure: Corneal samples were collected from 33 dogs, 19 horses, and 12 cats with spontaneously arising ulcerative keratitis. Samples for bacterial (dogs, cats, horses) and fungal (horses) cultures were collected prior to and following application of 0.5% proparacaine or saline. All patients then received a topical anesthetic, and samples were collected for cytology. Frequency of cultivatable bacteria before (Swab 1) and after (Swab 2) application of proparacaine or saline was compared using Fisher's exact test. Homogeneity of culture and cytology results was assessed using McNemar's test. Results: No difference was detected in number of animals from which bacteria were isolated from Swab 1 or Swab 2 for proparacaine (21/37 and 17/37, respectively) or saline (10/27 and 12/27, respectively). Small numbers prevented analysis of fungal culture results in horses between Swab 1 and Swab 2 for proparacaine (2/12 and 1/12, respectively) or saline (both, 1/8). Bacteria were isolated from 10 of 20 horses and detected cytologically in 3 of these; fungi were isolated from 3 of 20 horses and detected cytologically in 2 of these. Bacteria were detected more frequently using culture (31/64) than cytology (19/64). Conclusion: Proparacaine did not significantly alter bacterial or fungal culture results in cats, dogs, or horses; however, clinical significance warrants investigation. Culture and cytology provided complementary data; both should be performed to maximize organism detection in patients with ulcerative keratitis.
- corneal culture
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