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Objective—To determine the organisms most commonly isolated from pleural fluid from dogs and cats with pyothorax.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—51 dogs and 47 cats.

Procedure—Results of bacteriologic culture of pleural fluid samples obtained by means of thoracentesis were obtained from medical records. To obtain information on in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of organisms commonly isolated from dogs and cats, records of all dogs and cats examined during 1998 were reviewed, and information was obtained on identity and in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of aerobic organisms isolated from samples other than urine or urinary tract samples.

Results—Median ages of dogs and cats were 4 years. Bacteria were isolated from pleural fluid samples from 47 of 51 (92%) dogs and 45 of 47 (96%) cats. Obligate anaerobic bacteria were isolated from 28 dogs and 40 cats. A mixture of obligate anaerobic and facultative bacteria was isolated from 17 dogs and 20 cats. Samples from cats most often yielded a member of the nonenteric group (most commonly members of the genus Pasteurella), whereas those from dogs more often yielded a member of the family Enterobacteriaceae (most commonly E coli).

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that antimicrobial agents chosen for the initial treatment of dogs and cats with pyothorax should be active against a mixture of obligate anaerobic and facultative bacteria. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216: 359–363)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association