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  • Author or Editor: Joanna E. Hedley x
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CASE DESCRIPTION A 16-month-old neutered male Continental Giant rabbit (Lepus curpaeums) was referred for evaluation of a 7-day history of acute-onset, progressive, symmetric paraparesis.

CLINICAL FINDINGS On initial examination, the rabbit was nonambulatory, and results of neurologic examination were consistent with a lesion affecting the T3-L3 spinal cord segments. Thoracic radiography showed irregular widening of the left T11–12 articular process joint. Marked dorsolateral and lateral extradural spinal cord compression with contrast enhancement of the adjacent epaxial muscles was evident on MRI images of the spine.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME A left-sided T11–T12 hemilaminectomy was performed, which revealed an abnormal and hypertrophic T11–12 articular process joint and an osteolytic lesion communicating with the vertebral canal. Copious purulent material causing marked spinal cord compression was evident, and the surgical site was lavaged extensively with sterile (0.9% NaCl) saline solution. Results of aerobic, anaerobic, and enriched bacteriologic cultures of swab specimens obtained from the surgical site were negative. Histologic analysis of biopsy samples revealed chronic purulent osteomyelitis, myositis, and fasciitis with necrosis, fibrosis, and dystrophic mineralization. The rabbit was discharged 48 hours after surgery. Ten weeks after surgery, the rabbit was ambulatory with mild paraparesis. On telephone follow-up 21 months after surgery, the owners indicated that the rabbit was healthy and expressed satisfaction with the treatment and outcome.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Paraspinal abscess with vertebral canal involvement should be considered as a differential diagnosis for rabbits with clinical signs of progressive T3-L3 myelopathy. Outcome for the patient of the present report suggested that surgical treatment including decompression and debridement can result in a favorable long-term outcome.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association