Magnetic resonance imaging of presumptive lumbosacral discospondylitis in a dog

Kraft SL, Mussman JM, Smith T, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1998;39:9-13.

A three-year-old male Boxer dog had hyperesthesia, symmetrical epaxial, gluteal and hind limb muscular atrophy and rear limb ataxia. Neurological deficits included decreased conscious proprioception of the left hind limb, decreased withdrawal and increased patellar reflexes of both hind limbs. The dog had a urinary tract infection with positive culture for Staphylococcus intermedius. On survey radiography of the lumbosacral spine there was active bone proliferation spanning the L7 S1 intervertebral disc space with an epidural filling defect at the ventral aspect of the vertebral canal on epidurography. On magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), findings were similar to those described for human diskospondylitis including altered signal intensity and nonuniform contrast enhancement of the L7-S1 intervertebral disc, adjacent vertebral end plates and epidural and sublumbar soft tissues. Although skeletal radiography is usually sufficient to reach a diagnosis of discospondylitis, MRI of this patient made it possible to reach a presumptive diagnosis of discospondylitis prior to development of definitive radiographic abnormalities.