09.Sep 2022

Case of the month: 8-month-old mixbreed dog with diarrhea and acute vomiting


Signalment and anamnesis

  • 8-month-old mixbreed dog presented for diarrhea and acute vomiting

For further clarification the following radiographs were taken:


Radiographic description

  • Irregular, permeative to moth-eaten osteolysis of the vertebral body endplates of L2 and L3 with multiple, small bone fragments and increased bone density (sclerosis) of the adjacent vertebral bodies. The transition zone to normal bone tissue is unclear but appears long
  • A mild negative step formation is present between the affected vertebral bodies of L2 and L3, indicative of subluxation
  • The adjacent ventral soft tissue structures are mildly swollen


  • Radiographic findings are suggestive of discospondylitis L2/3 with suspected pathologic compression fracture


  • The patient had a positive blood culture, and an appropriate antibiotic was selected and administered based on the subsequent antibiogram
  • The patient is doing well


  • Discospondylitis describes the infection of two adjacent vertebral endplates and the associated intervertebral disc
  • In most cases, bacterial or mycotic infections are the cause
  • Associated neurologic signs may occur in response to inflammation and instability, extrusion of disc material, and subluxation or fracture due to bone loss
  • Less commonly, discospondylitis may result in spinal accumulation of pus (empyema) associated with diffuse or focal meningomyelitis
  • In case of extradural compression of the myelon due to spinal empyema, surgical decompression may be indicated


Many thanks to Dr. ECVDI Thorsten Rick for this case report!

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