Antibiotics are frequently used for treating urinary tract infections (UTI) in dogs and cats. UTI often requires time-consuming and expensive antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST). Alternatively, clinicians can employ Flexicult Vet, an affordable chromogenic agar with added antibiotics for in-clinic AST. We investigated how well veterinary microbiologists and clinicians, without any prior experience, employ Flexicult Vet for the identification and AST of the most common canine and feline urinary pathogenic bacteria. We prepared 47 monoculture plates containing 10 bacterial species. The test's mean accuracy was 75.1% for bacteria identification (84.6% and 68.7% for microbiologists and clinicians, respectively) and 79.2% for AST (80.7% and 78.2%). All evaluators employed Flexicult Vet with the accuracies over 90% for the distinctively colored bacteria like Escherichia coli (red), Enterococcus faecalis (turquoise), and Proteus spp. (pale brown). However, the evaluators' experience proved important in recognizing lightly colored bacteria like Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (accuracies of 82.6% and 40.3%). Misidentifications of E. faecium additionally worsened AST performance since bacterial intrinsic resistance could not be considered. Finally, only 33.3% (3/9) of methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) were correctly detected. To conclude, Flexicult Vet proved reliable for certain urinary pathogens. In contrast, light-colored bacteria (e.g., Staphylococcus), often misidentified, require a standard AST.
Keywords: Flexicult Vet; antimicrobial susceptibility testing; cats; dogs; pathogen identification; urinary tract infection; veterinary microbiology.