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Successful medical treatment of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae-induced lumbosacral discospondylitis in a dog
  1. L. Golini, DVM, MSc (Behavior)1,
  2. J. P. Morgan, Prof, Dr Med Vet, DACVR2,
  3. T. Glaus, Prof, Dr Med Vet, DACVIM, (Internal Medicine), DECVIM (Cardiology)3 and
  4. F. Steffen, PD, Dr Med Vet, DECVN1
  1. Neurology Service, Department of Small Animals, VetSuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Section of Diagnostic Imaging, VetSuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Cardiology Service, Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine, VetSuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland
  1. E-mail for correspondence lgolini{at}vetclinics.uzh.ch

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THE lumbosacral disc is a common site for the settlement of local or systemic bacterial infections, leading to lumbosacral diskospondylitis (Gilmore 1987, Burkert and others 2005). More commonly isolated organisms include Staphylococcus species, Brucella canis, Streptococcus species and Escherichia coli; additional less common organisms include Pasteurella multocida, Actinomyces viscosus, Nocardia species, Mycobacterium avium, Proteus species and corynebacterium species (Betbeze and McLaughlin 2002, Burkert and others 2005). In human medicine, pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis is mainly due to Streptococcus aureus, followed by E coli, coagulase-negative staphylococci and Propionibacterium acnes (Zimmerli 2010). Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is rarely recognised as zoonotic agent of osteomyelitis in immunodeficient patients but it is easily treatable. Whereas this organism is a very important pathogen in pigs, where acute disease is characterised by sudden death or general signs of septicaemia, the subacute form is characterised by classical diamond-skin light pink to reddish lesions or a chronic form can result with signs of local arthritis or proliferative pathological changes in the heart (Wang and others 2010). To the authors' knowledge, E rhusiopathiae has only been described in three fatal canine cases, of which two dogs had diskospondylitis as part of the disease (Houlton and Jefferies 1989, Burkert and others 2005, Seelig and others 2010). The present case report illustrates the clinical and radiological features; diagnostic procedure, clinical cure and long-term clinical follow-up of a dog diagnosed with E rhusiopathiae-induced lumbosacral diskospondylitis.

The dog, a 13-year-old-male labrador retriever, was presented to the Neurology Service of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zurich for a second opinion about a long-term problem in failure to jump and walk normally. The dog had been living in Ibiza, Spain, since it was born where it was regularly vaccinated, dewormed and during …

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