I had posted this previously on the COTH. I'm at my wits end and not sure if I should change vets or not. Heres the scenario. I took my mare to a well known Vet hospital in Central Texas for a UC. I use them for everything and have never had a problem. This is a maiden mare, who has been in a mixed herd up until last year. Her first culture came back positive for Staph and Bacillus. Prior to doing an infusion, Kathy suggested to me to insist that the vet do a cytology. Well, when I dropped her off for the cytology, the receptionist did NOT tell the vet that I wanted a cytology, so he started the infusions. When I called later that afternoon, the vet said he did not get the message, had infused her, and they didn't do cytologies anyways! So we continued the infusions. I just got word that now she has tested positive for Proteus! The explanation was that it could have been lurking, and because it is not sensitive to the Gentocin they used on the first infusion, it manifested itself and grew. I did have the vet do a breeding exam while she was there during the infusions just to make sure there were no abnormalities. She's fine as far as her anatomy is concerned. I'm on the fence right now and will be calling the vet where the Stallion is being stood for a second opinion. I've turned up nothing in searches about these bacteria other than general information and I hope that I can get more detailed info here. I am a former small animal tech, we always did cytologies before anything else, but I'm in the dark with the specifics.
Proteus spp. - although they may be a causative agent of endometritis (inflammation of the endometrium) - are more commonly found to be a contaminant. In other words, they are not a problem that will prevent pregnancy establishment or maintenance. This is why it is critical that a cytology smear be created and read in conjunction with the culture. We've said it before, and we'll say it again:
The results of a uterine culture alone is worthless as an indicator of the uterine pathogenic status. A cytology smear supporting the culture results must be present to permit a conclusive diagnosis of the presence of an endometritis-causing pathogen.
While it is possible that the Proteus that was found is causing endometritis, it is equally possible (or possibly more likely) that it is not.
If this were my mare I would have the cytology smear performed before doing anything else (it takes only about 10 minutes to take a swab, stain and read the smear). If the vet practice you are dealing with refuses (or is incapable) to do it, find another veterinarian. My recommendation would be to find a Theriogenologist, which means they are board certified in the practice of veterinary medicine related to reproduction (and will want to do a cytology smear or biopsy! ). They may be more expensive at the outset, but in the long run may prove cheaper than a general practice vet. - as you are now probably finding!
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