Objective: To determine signalment, clinical features of the disease, and treatment in dogs with diskospondylitis.
Design: Case-control study.
Animals: 513 dogs with diskospondylitis (cases) and 236,109 canine hospital accessions (controls) from 12 veterinary teaching hospitals.
Procedure: Information retrieved from the medical records of 123 dogs with diskospondylitis at the Louisiana State University veterinary teaching hospital between 1980 and 2001 included sex, age, breed, primary complaint, neurologic status, location of lesions, causative organism, treatment, and outcome. The signalment of 390 additional cases from 11 other veterinary teaching hospitals was accessed from the Veterinary Medical Database. Comparisons were made with controls from the same time periods.
Results: Male dogs were twice as likely as female dogs to be affected (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7 to 2.4). Dogs were significantly more likely to be affected as age increased. Purebred dogs, especially Great Danes, were more likely than mixed-breed dogs to be affected (OR, 73; CI, 4.3 to 12.6). For dogs from Louisiana State University, Staphylococcus spp, Brucella spp, Streptococcus spp, and Escherichia coli were isolated most often; multiple organisms were detected via microbial culture in 11 dogs. The mean duration of treatment was 53.7 weeks.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Male dogs, older dogs, and Great Danes appeared more likely to be affected with diskospondylitis than female dogs, dogs < 1 year of age, and mixed-breed dogs, respectively. Long-term administration of antimicrobial drugs for treatment of diskospondylitis may be expected. Identification of the causative organism and early treatment are recommended.