When infection is present in your pet, often a judicious choice of antibiotics by our vets is sufficient to resolve the problem. However, it may be necessary to establish exactly what bacteria or fungi are present in some cases.
The procedure we follow in this instance is to take a sample of the infected area – for example, hairs and/or a skin scraping from skin, a swab from ears, a urine sample – then either plate the sample onto fungal growth media in our own laboratory, or send the sample to a nearby laboratory for culture.
Once the organism has been grown, it is identified by microscopic examination and a variety of biochemical tests. Antibiotic sensitivity testing may also be used to determine the most appropriate antibiotic for treatment of disease. Sometimes in resistant infections, six to eight weeks worth of antibiotics may be required. In these cases, it is desirable to treat with a drug that is most effective at killing the organism in question.