The importance of morphological changes in neutrophils in the diagnosis of bacterial infections in dogs with confirmed urinary tract infections in a Veterinary Care Service, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


toxic neutrophils, bacterial infection, urine culture, microbiological diagnosis, dogs.

How to Cite

Leal, P. D. S., Veeren, I. B. L., Fonseca, S., Machado, C. H., & Lopes, C. W. G. (2023). The importance of morphological changes in neutrophils in the diagnosis of bacterial infections in dogs with confirmed urinary tract infections in a Veterinary Care Service, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 45, e004022.


Neutrophils (PMNs) are cellular markers used for diagnosing inflammation and/or infections. In this study, the objective was to highlight the importance of recording the toxic morphological alterations of the PMNs as markers of infection in 10 cases, positive bacterial isolation by culture due to dysuria, hematuria and/or fetid urine, as manifestations of urinary tract disease. Smear observations were performed by immersion for counting and morphological evaluations of 3,000 leukocytes in smears and in leukocyte concentrate. One (10.0%) of the dogs had leukocytosis, and two (20.0%) dogs had leukopenia. All animals showed toxic PMNs with positive bacterial culture. None of the cases in the study showed any quantitative alterations in PMNs such as: neutropenia or neutrophilia, where 100% had nuclear displacement of the regenerative type of PMNs to the left. 100% cases had toxic morphological changes: 90.0% had PMNs with toxic granulations, 80.0% had giant rod neutrophils, 70.0% had target PMNs, in 50.0% of those with vacuolation in the cytoplasm, in 40.0% of the animals, the presence of giant PMNs, 10.0% with Döhle bodies, and another animal 10.0% with karyorrhexis. All case studies had at least one association of two types of toxic changes. Toxic morphological alterations observed in PMNs through cystoscopy proved to be more reliable and sensitive in evidencing the diagnosis of infections than the quantitative alterations of absolute values of total leukocytes; therefore, they were essential in the laboratory diagnosis by blood count in the course of infections in dogs.


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Copyright (c) 2023 Paulo Daniel Sant’Anna Leal, Ianna Barbosa Lima Veeren, Solange Fonseca, Carlos Henrique Machado, Carlos Wilson Gomes Lopes