Discospondylitis is an infection of the intervertebral disk and end plates. Hematogenous spread secondary to a pre-existing condition, urinary or skin infections are noted in some cases. Diskospondylitis is commonly seen in young large breed dogs and rarely in cats. The L7-S1 disk is the most common site affected; involvement of multiple sites is common.
Typical clinical signs include pain and fever. Diagnostics should include CBC, chemistry, urinalysis with culture and sensitivity, spinal radiographs, +/- Ct scan and Brucella serology. Brucella has zoonotic potential and recurrence is common. Treatment is based on bacterial culture and sensitivity. Antibiotic therapy must be continued for a minimum of 8 weeks.
It is possible to confuse spondylosis with diskospondylitis; in spondylosis there is only bony proliferation and with diskospondlyitis; there is infection causing collapsed intervertebral disc spaces, lysis of end plates, end plate sclerosis and bony proliferation. Prognosis is general favorable with bacterial infections and poor to grave with fungal (aspergillosis) infections.