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Bacterial meningitis and subdural empyema caused by Actinomyces canis in a dog
  1. Megan Mickelson1,2,
  2. Natasha Olby1 and
  3. Malte Schwartz1,3
  1. 1Department of Clinical Sciences, NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC, USA
  2. 2School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2015 Linden Drive, Madison, WI, USA
  3. 3Sage Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, 7121 Amador Plaza Rd, Dublin, CA 94568
  1. Correspondence to Dr Natasha Olby, natasha_olby{at}


Actinomyces canis, a Gram-positive facultative anaerobe, was identified as the cause of subdural empyema in a two-year-old labrador retriever. The dog was initially treated for conjunctivitis and a week later presented for progressive neurologic abnormalities. Thoracic radiographs showed pulmonary nodules and MRI of the head was suggestive of right retrobulbar cellulitis and presumably consequential, subdural empyema and meningoencephalitis associated with caudal transtentorial herniation. A craniectomy was performed and the aetiologic diagnosis was confirmed by anaerobic bacterial culture. The dog made a complete recovery, including resolution of pulmonary nodules, with surgical decompression and antibiotic treatment.

  • Bacterial diseases
  • Central nervous system (CNS)
  • Neurosurgery

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