Pigeon health

   bacterial culturing - at home?

25. 06. 2012.
I think that bacterial cultures are a very effective method. Can I do such a thing at home? Or does it require very expensive instruments?
Making bacterial cultures is a very good technique, indeed, and necessary for pigeon medicine. We use this almost every time we have to do an autopsy, because it can confirm the diagnosis, AND we can choose the best method and drug for the treatment!
The first important thing before making a bacterial culture is to make sure you have a good sample. If not, the diagnosis will be incorrect, since you have a false negative culture, and this is not what we want.
Doing these examinations, you need some equipment, such as an incubator that will keep the temperature continuously the same. Special culture media are also required to let bacteria grow from different samples.
These things are quite expensive, the culture media only good for a limited time, it is not that easy to read and interpret the results, quite time-consuming, so I think it is more convenient to send those samples to your vet or a lab in order to have some bacterial cultures done.
Different bacteria grow amidst different circumstances; different strains require different methods and a different culture medium. Over and above that, the results of bacterial cultures are influenced by a number of factors. So the result must only be evaluated and used while bearing all these circumstances in mind:
- time the sample is taken (how many days before culturing)
- how many days the samples were taken for
- age of the pigeon(s)
- source of the sample – throat, droppings, etc.
- speed at which different bacteria are grown
- type of culture medium (simple agar-agar, blood agar, selective media, etc.)
- presence or absence of oxygen during growing
- temperature during culturing
- treatments (antibiotics) before sample is taken
- time of year (e.g. breeding season or out of season)
- number of samples (samples from one or more pigeons)
- presence of other (e.g. beneficial) bacteria in the medium
- clinical symptoms in the pigeon(s)
- clinical symptoms in the whole loft
- result of autopsy
- result of previous bacterial culturing
Well, the bacterial cultures are very useful method, but a little difficult, too. In the case of bacterial culturing, it is best if your vet does it all: the taking of samples, the culturing of bacteria and the evaluation.
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