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Intracranial abscess caused by Rhodococcus equi infection in a foal

John C. Janicek DVM1, Joanne Kramer DVM, DACVS2, Joan R. Coates DVM, MS, DACVIM3, Jimmy C. Lattimer DVM, DACVR4, Alison M. LaCarrubba DVM5, and Nat T. Messer DVM, DABVP6
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

Abstract

Case Description—A 4-month-old Missouri Fox Trotter colt was examined for a 5-week history of head tilt after treatment for suspected pulmonary Rhodococcus equi infection.

Clinical Findings—Computed tomography revealed osteolysis of the occipital, temporal, and caudal portion of the parietal bones of the left side of the cranium. A soft tissue mass compressing the occipital region of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum was associated with the osteolytic bone.

Treatment and Outcome—A rostrotentorial-suboccipital craniectomy approach was performed to remove fragmented occipital bone, debulk the intracranial mass, and obtain tissue samples for histologic examination and bacterial culture. All neurologic deficits improved substantially within 3 days after surgery. Bacterial culture of the resected soft tissue and bone fragments yielded R equi.

Clinical Relevance—Intracranial surgery in veterinary medicine has been limited to dogs and cats; however, in select cases, extrapolation of surgical techniques used in humans and small animals can assist with intracranial procedures in horses.

Abstract

Case Description—A 4-month-old Missouri Fox Trotter colt was examined for a 5-week history of head tilt after treatment for suspected pulmonary Rhodococcus equi infection.

Clinical Findings—Computed tomography revealed osteolysis of the occipital, temporal, and caudal portion of the parietal bones of the left side of the cranium. A soft tissue mass compressing the occipital region of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum was associated with the osteolytic bone.

Treatment and Outcome—A rostrotentorial-suboccipital craniectomy approach was performed to remove fragmented occipital bone, debulk the intracranial mass, and obtain tissue samples for histologic examination and bacterial culture. All neurologic deficits improved substantially within 3 days after surgery. Bacterial culture of the resected soft tissue and bone fragments yielded R equi.

Clinical Relevance—Intracranial surgery in veterinary medicine has been limited to dogs and cats; however, in select cases, extrapolation of surgical techniques used in humans and small animals can assist with intracranial procedures in horses.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Janicek.

The authors thank Dr. William H. Fales for assistance with bacterial identification.