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To describe the prevalence of postoperative bacteriuria, clinical course of subclinical bacteriuria in the absence of antimicrobial intervention, clinical signs of bacteriuria that trigger antimicrobial treatment, and outcomes for dogs with subclinical bacteriuria following surgical decompression of acute intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH) Hansen type I.


Twenty client-owned dogs undergoing hemilaminectomy for acute (≤ 6 days) IVDH Hansen type I affecting the thoracolumbar spinal cord segments between August 2018 and January 2019.


In this prospective study, dogs were serially evaluated at presentation, hospital discharge, 2 weeks postoperatively, and between 4 and 6 weeks postoperatively. Dogs were monitored for clinical signs of bacteriuria, underwent laboratory monitoring (CBC, biochemical analyses, urinalysis, urine bacterial culture), and were scored for neurologic and urinary status. In the absence of clinical signs, bacteriuria was not treated with antimicrobials.


Four of the 18 dogs developed bacteriuria without clinical signs 4 days to 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. In all 4 dogs, bacteriuria resulted in lower urinary tract signs 13 to 26 weeks postoperatively. No dogs had evidence of systemic illness despite delaying antimicrobial treatment until clinical signs developed. New-onset incontinence was the only clinical sign in 3 dogs. All bacterial isolates had wide antimicrobial susceptibility. Bacteriuria and clinical signs resolved with beta-lactam antimicrobial treatment.


Postoperative bacteriuria occurs in some dogs with IVDH Hansen type I and, when present, may lead to clinical signs over time. Clinical signs of bacteriuria may be limited to new-onset urinary incontinence, inappropriate urination, or both. Delaying antimicrobial treatment until clinical signs of bacteriuria developed did not result in adverse consequences or systemic illness.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association