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Surgical management of a canine intracranial abscess due to a bite wound


  • This case report was not supported by any funding/grants and was not presented at any meetings.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to
Dr. Ann Bilderback, Long Island Veterinary Specialists, 163 South Service Road, Plainview, NY 11803, USA. Email:


Objective – To describe the successful surgical management of a brain abscess in a dog secondary to bite wound.

Case Summary – A 10-year-old neutered female Welsh Corgi/Chihuahua, weighing 5.3 kg, was presented for evaluation of seizures, ataxia, and falling to the left 8 days after a presumptive fight with another dog. On examination at presentation, the dog was alert, responsive, and ambulatory with tetra-ataxia, falling to the left, left-sided postural deficits, and absent left menace response. Within 24 hours, the dog progressed to nonambulatory tetraparesis with minimal motor, absent postural reactions of all limbs, left nasal hypalgesia, reduced gag reflex, and depressed mentation. Computed tomographic images of the brain were suggestive of a bite wound fracture of the right parietal bone with secondary meningoencephalitis, right parietal lobe abscessation, and white matter edema adjacent to the bone fracture. A modified right rostrotentorial craniectomy was performed, the abscess was identified, contents of the abscess were removed, and the surgical site was flushed extensively before closing. Corynebacterium spp. was cultured from within the abscess. Within hours of surgery, the dog was quiet but alert, responsive, and sitting up in her cage. In addition to surgical intervention, intensive care, broad-spectrum IV antimicrobials, and supportive therapy led to significant neurologic improvement with only occasional seizures and mild postural reaction deficits of the left hindlimb remaining.

New or Unique Information Provided – Abscess formation within the CNS is uncommon in dogs and cats and is associated with a high mortality rate. In veterinary medicine the management of brain abscesses is controversial with limited information available regarding treatment. This is the first case report that demonstrates surgical intervention in combination with antimicrobial therapy can be used successfully in the treatment of a canine brain abscess.