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C-reactive protein in dogs with suspected bacterial diskospondylitis: 16 cases (2010–2019)
  1. George Nye1,
  2. Francois-Xavier Liebel2 and
  3. Tom Harcourt-Brown2
  1. 1School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Bristol, Somerset, UK
  2. 2Neurology, Langford Veterinary Services, Langford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr George Nye; gn17257{at}


Objectives C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein used in multiple canine inflammatory conditions including steroid responsive meningitis-arteritis, immune-mediated polyarthritis and bronchopneumonia. The aim of this study was to assess whether serum CRP is elevated in cases of diskospondylitis.

Methods Medical records from 2010 to 2019 were searched to identify dogs diagnosed with diskospondylitis based on findings consistent on CT or MRI and with CRP tested.

Results A total of 16 dogs met the inclusion criteria. All cases had back pain. Fourteen cases had elevated CRP, with a median value of 100.7 mg/l (reference range for CRP values: 0–10 mg/l), 12 were pyrexic and six had leucocytosis. The two dogs with normal CRP were normothermic and did not have leucocytosis. CRP was measured four to six weeks into antimicrobial treatment in eight of 14 dogs and was normal in all cases. One dog developed a suspected bacterial empyema diagnosed on MRI; this occurred two weeks after antibiotic treatment was discontinued based on a normal CRP level at follow-up.

Conclusions Serum CRP is elevated in cases of diskospondylitis and may be clinically more useful to screen dogs with back pain than pyrexia or leucocytosis alone. Further long-term clinical evaluation in a prospective study is needed to assess its use as a treatment monitoring tool and in decision making.

  • neurology
  • acute phase response
  • neuroimaging

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  • Presented at Presented as a poster at the European College of Veterinary Neurology Conference, Krakow, September 2019.

  • Contributors Planning of the study was conducted by all three authors. Data gathering was conducted by the primary author. Review of the final draft of the manuscript was performed by all authors. Tables and figures were provided by all authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the animal welfare and ethics board of the university (VIN/18/071).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Deidentified participant data are available on request from the corresponding author (

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