Davies solves sublumbar abscess mystery

An eagle-eyed radiologist at Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire identified two migrating grass seeds as the cause of a spaniel’s sublumbar abscess using a combination of CT and ultrasound.

The veterinary team performed a minimally invasive, ultrasound-guided retrieval of the perpetrators and the dog was discharged the following day.

Further investigations

English springer spaniel Dexter’s breathing had been labored, his temperature higher than normal and he had a slight cough. His owner had also noticed a lump on the dog’s flank.

A visit to the vet and a course of antibiotics temporarily resolved the problems; however, the lump returned, increased in size and began to discharge purulent fluid, at which point Dexter was referred to Davies for further investigations.

Large abscess

Dexter was given a general anesthetic, and a CT scan of his chest and abdomen revealed a large abscess and draining tract affecting his sublumbar muscles.

An ultrasound examination of the abscess was then performed by Andy Holdsworth, Davies’ head of diagnostic imaging, which identified two small foreign bodies.

Ultrasound guidance

Mr Holdsworth said: “We removed two grass seeds through a small skin incision, using ultrasound guidance and a pair of crocodile forceps.

The scan suggested the seeds had been inhaled and then migrated through Dexter’s lungs to the sublumbar muscles on the right side.

“Given that we were able to identify the grass seeds as the cause of the infection and they were in a suitable location to attempt percutaneous retrieval, we were able to consider this as an alternative option to extensive exploratory surgery.”

Dexter was prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection, together with anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers. He was discharged the following day and went on to make a full recovery.


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