Assessment of the inter-rater agreement of corneal cytology and culture findings in canine ulcerative keratitis by Negar Hamzianpour and colleagues at the Eye Veterinary Clinic, Herefordshire

To date, there has been little published research on the diagnostic value of corneal cytology in canine ulcerative keratitis, and no published research assessing the impact of different levels of veterinary training on the reliability of cytological findings.

In 2018, BSAVA PetSavers awarded funding to Negar Hamzianpour and colleagues at the Eye Veterinary Clinic, Herefordshire, to explore this area of research. Their findings indicated that veterinary surgeons with increased ocular pathology expertise (pathologists > ophthalmologists > general practitioners) had an increased inter-rater agreement of corneal cytology and increased agreement with culture. This suggests that it may be appropriate to interpret cytology findings in conjunction with the experience of the observer. Furthermore, to ensure that all relevant pathogens are identified, both cytology and culture should be utilised. Their findings are published in the March 2022 issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP).

Ulcerative keratitis in canine patients is common in ophthalmology practice, and prompt treatment is required to protect patient welfare. Owing to the need to treat patients in a timely manner, and the lag time between any sampling and culture results, treatment typically involves a polypharmacy approach which is at odds with minimising unnecessary treatments due to concerns regarding the development of antimicrobial resistance. Whilst the results of this study cannot define the most appropriate approach, they indicate that clinicians should consider the risks of the development of antimicrobial resistance both for their patients and more widely.

Access the JSAP paper here