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Successful surgical and medical treatment of a severe, acute epidural bleed in a young dog due to steroid responsive meningitis-arteritis

Published: 10 July 2021

Abstract: Background Steroid responsive meningitis-arteritis (SRMA) is an immune-mediated disease of the leptomeninges and its associated blood vessels, typically responsive to corticosteroids. Clinically relevant haemorrhage is a rare finding in such patients and for this reason surgical decompression of the spinal cord is normally not considered. The diagnosis of SRMA is supported by serum C-reactive protein (CRP) increase, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination, including cytology (polymorphonuclear pleocytosis in the acute form), nucleated cell-, red blood cell- and protein count, as well as by evaluating CSF and serum IgA concentrations. D-dimer concentrations in serum and CSF should be elevated as well and therefore can be also evaluated as a further diagnostic tool. Case presentation A 1.5-year-old mixed breed dog was presented with pyrexia, cervical pain and acute tetraparesis. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an extradural mass lesion at the level of the sixth cervical vertebra, consistent with a subacute epidural haemorrhage, causing severe compression of the spinal cord. Based on the dog’s signalment, clinical history and results of the blood and CSF analyses (incl. D-dimer determination), SRMA with secondary epidural haemorrhage was suspected. Decompressive surgery was performed through a right sided partial dorsal laminectomy. Post-surgical immunosuppressive treatment was started with cytarabine and then continued with prednisolone after completion of wound healing. Conclusions This is the first report in which medical and surgical treatment were combined in a patient with SRMA and it highlights the possibility of performing a successful surgical intervention despite the need for immunosuppressive therapy. Moreover, while SRMA diagnosis is normally based on CSF analysis and CSF and serum IgA concentrations, D-dimer concentrations in serum and CSF were also useful in this patient.
Keywords: Canine / Cervical pain / Cytosine arabinoside / Decompression / Inflammatory disease / Immune-mediated / Tetraparesis

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