A multicenter, retrospective study was undertaken to evaluate contrast radiographic findings in canine bacterial discospondylitis. Records and myelograms or epidurograms of 27 patients were obtained from five colleges of veterinary medicine. Fifteen cases (56%) were evaluated as having some degree of spinal cord compression. The majority (73.3%) of the cases had only soft tissue as the compressive mass. The median compression for all cases was 5% of the vertebral canal. No difference was noted for compression based on anatomical site (i.e., cervical versus thoracolumbar versus lumbosacral). No significant correlation between degree of lesion compression and clinical outcome was noted, but there was a trend toward increased mortality with greater compression. There was no correlation between the ambulatory status and the ultimate outcome. Three of the 15 (20%) cases showed vertebral subluxation. Results of this study indicate that static spinal cord compression is not a significant component of the neurological dysfunction associated with bacterial discospondylitis. Identification of vertebral subluxation in some patients may indicate a dynamic lesion that should be evaluated with stress radiography.
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