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Companion Animal Practice
Management of bacterial osteomyelitis in dogs and cats
  1. Chris May

    Chris May graduated from Cambridge in 1985 and spent some time in general practice before joining the University of Liverpool where he was successively house surgeon, resident in small animal orthopaedics, Wellcome Veterinary Research Training Scholar and lecturer in small animal orthopaedics. In 1994, he started a small animal orthopaedic and spinal referral service in a veterinary hospital in Derbyshire and, in 1998, moved to join Willows Referral Service in Solihull. He holds a PhD for research into canine joint disease and the RCVS certificate in small animal orthopaedics.


THE term osteomyelitis, which literally means inflammation of bone, including the marrow and cortex, is most commonly applied to bacterial or fungal infections of bone. With rare exceptions, bacterial infections of the skeletal system do not constitute life-threatening events. However, they are of importance because they are a source of significant morbidity and, particularly in skeletally immature animals, debilitating secondary changes may occur if treatment is not prompt and appropriate. Viral and protozoan infections can also affect the skeleton but these, like fungal infections, are rare or undocumented in the UK. This article discusses the management of bacterial osteomyelitis and describes the pathogenesis of the condition, an understanding of which is essential for rational therapy.

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