BACKGROUND: Abscesses in the neck region can result from infection associated with injection of drugs into the neck muscles. To our knowledge, there have been no reports of osteomyelitis of the cervical vertebra and spinal cord compression secondary to an abscess in the neck. This case report describes the findings in a 9.5-month-old heifer with an abscess of the cervical spine secondary to injection site infection.
CASE PRESENTATION: The main clinical findings were swelling on the left side of the neck, proprioceptive deficits in all limbs and generalised ataxia. The ultrasonographic examination of the swelling showed an abscess. Radiographs showed a well-defined lytic lesion in 5th cervical vertebra (C5). Postmortem examination revealed an intramuscular encapsulated abscess on the left side of the neck at the level of C5. The abscess had invaded the vertebral canal and caused marked compression of the spinal cord.
CONCLUSIONS: Injection technique is critical for the prevention of problems such as those described in this report. Sterile hypodermic needles must be used, and the volume of drug per injection site limited to 10-15 ml in young cattle.