Medical management of spinal epidural empyema in five dogs

Susana R. Monforte Monteiro*, Antonella Gallucci, Nicolas Rousset, Paul M. Freeman, Edward J. Ives, Gualtiero Gandini, Nicolas Granger, An E. Vanhaesebrouck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
311 Downloads (Pure)


Case description: Case series of five dogs, presenting with spinal pain and rapidly progressive neurological deficits.

Clinical findings: Five dogs presented with clinical signs of myelopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in all dogs was consistent with spinal epidural empyema. Concurrent infectious processes were identified at adjacent and/or distant sites in all cases, including discospondylitis, prostatitis, dermatitis, paraspinal infection following a penetrating injury, urinary tract infection and pyothorax. Bacteria were isolated from three cases, and included Escherichia coli from blood, urine and prostatic wash cultures, Pasteurella sp. from percutaneous aspiration from an adjacent infected wound, and Corynebacterium sp. following thoracocentesis. Cultures were negative in two cases.

Treatment and Outcome: All patients showed clinical improvement within two weeks of starting antibiotic therapy and had an excellent long-term outcome.

Clinical Relevance: Spinal epidural empyema has been previously regarded as a surgical emergency in dogs. This is the first case series to describe medical management of this condition. As in humans, selected dogs with spinal epidural empyema may be managed successfully with medical management alone, while surgical intervention can be reserved for cases where deterioration of neurological function is observed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1180-1186
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2016


  • Dog
  • Empyema
  • Medical diagnostic imaging
  • Infection
  • Bacterial

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