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Radiographic Diagnosis-Paraspinal Abscess in a Dog

Naughton J.F., Tucker R.L. and Bagley R.S.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 2005. 46(1): p.23-26.

A two-year-old intact male Brittany Spaniel was admitted for evaluation of progressive spinal pain. Previous treatment had been initiated for suspected lumbosacral intervertebral disk disease, however there was poor response to therapy. On presentation the dog was laterally recumbent and neurological examination revealed hyperesthesia over the lumbar vertebral segments. On survey radiography there was loss of detail in the sublumbar fascial planes and inconclusive lumbar vertebra proliferation. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed to better evaluate the lumbar spine and surrounding tissues, which revealed extensive paralumbar cellulitis, abscessation and osteomyelitis with extradural compression of the spinal cord. MR imaging allowed delineation of the abscessed area, and distinct visualization of its extension into and involvement of the surrounding tissues including muscle, fat, and retroperitoneal structures. In this case, MR imaging was instrumental in defining the extent of the infection and determining whether medical or surgical management of the diseased tissue was necessary. If available, MR may be the imaging method of choice for evaluation of paraspinal abscesses yielding a better insight to the spinal structures involved and facilitating medical or surgical intervention.