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Diskospondylitis

By: Dr. Arnold Plotnick

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The spine contains many small bones called vertebrae. In between these bones are small cushions called intervertebral discs. Diskospondylitis is an infection of one or more vertebral discs and their adjacent vertebrae. Bacterial infection is the most common cause of diskospondylitis. Fungal infections are possible, but occur less commonly.

The disorder is more common in large and giant breeds of dog. It is rare in the cat. Any age dog may be affected and males are affected more often than females.

Any vertebrae may be affected, although the thoracic (chest area) and lumbar (lower back) areas are most commonly affected. The effects of the disease may be mild (slight pain and discomfort) to severe (spinal fracture and paralysis).

What to Watch For

  • Spinal pain
  • Fever
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Reluctance to move
  • Incoordination
  • Paralysis

    Diagnosis

  • X-rays
  • Myelography
  • Computed tomography (CT scan)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imagine (MRI)
  • Radionuclide Bone Imaging
  • Laboratory tests
  • Needle aspiration and biopsy

    Treatment

  • Antibiotics
  • Cage rest
  • Analgesics
  • Surgery

    Home Care and Prevention

    There is no specific home care for diskospondylitis and this disease is not preventable.

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