Bite wounds involving the spine: Characteristics, therapy and outcome in seven cases

Orit Chai*, Dudley E. Johnston, Merav H. Shamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Medical records of five dogs and two cats with bite wounds to the spine were reviewed. All dogs were bitten in the cervical spine and presented as quadriparetic. Both cats were bitten at the lumbar spine; one was paraparetic and the other paraplegic. Concomitant injuries to structures other than the spine were seen in two cases. Radiographic findings included vertebral fractures in all cases. Medical therapy included antibiotics (7/7), methylprednisolone sodium succinate (4/7) and analgesia (7/7). Five cases underwent minor (4/5) or extensive (1/5) surgical debridement. All cervical fractures were stabilized with fiberglass casts and animals with lumbar injury were cage rested for a month. Six of the cases survived, five of which regained good to excellent ambulatory ability within the first month. Although, the numbers of reported cases are limited, this study shows that adequate surgical debridement and wound drainage combined with external coaptation can be sufficient to manage bite wounds that involve the spine.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Bite wounds
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Fracture-luxation
  • Spine


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