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Spinal Epidural Abscess in Two Calves

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To report clinical signs, diagnostic and surgical or necropsy findings, and outcome in 2 calves with spinal epidural abscess (SEA). Study Design

Clinical report. Animals

Calves (n=2). Methods

Calves had neurologic examination, analysis and antimicrobial culture of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), vertebral column radiographs, myelography, and in 1 calf, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A definitive diagnosis of SEA was confirmed by necropsy in 1 calf and during surgery and histologic examination of vertebral canal tissue in 1 calf. Results

Clinical signs were difficulty in rising, ataxia, fever, apparent spinal pain, hypoesthesia, and paresis/plegia which appeared 15 days before admission. Calf 1 had pelvic limb weakness and difficulty standing and calf 2 had severe ataxia involving both thoracic and pelvic limbs. Extradural spinal cord compression was identified by myelography. SEA suspected in calf 1 with discospondylitis was confirmed at necropsy whereas calf 2 had MRI identification of the lesion and was successfully decompressed by laminectomy and SEA excision. Both calves had peripheral neutrophilia and calf 2 had neutrophilic pleocytosis in CSF. Bacteria were not isolated from CSF, from the surgical site or during necropsy. Calf 2 improved neurologically and had a good long-term outcome. Conclusion

Good outcome in a calf with SEA was obtained after adequate surgical decompression and antibiotic administration. Clinical Relevance

SEA should be included in the list of possible causes of fever, apparent spinal pain, and signs of myelopathy in calves.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche Veterinarie and Dipartimento di Patologia Animale Igiene e Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria, Ospedale Veterinario Grandi Animali, University of Milan, Lodi, Italy

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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