Cervical disc herniation in an adult captive Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus): diagnosis and surgical therapy

The Marsican bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), or Apennine bear, is a subspecies of the European brown bear which is exclusively endemic to central Italy. The present work describes a case of cervical disc herniation in a captive bear housed in the wildlife area of the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, examined following the sub-acute onset of ambulatory tetraparesis not responsive to anti-inflammatory treatment. A spinal CT scan revealed the presence of voluminous hyperdense material lying on the floor of the vertebral canal at the level of the C5-C6 intervertebral space, consistent mainly with disc herniation. In view of the failure of the medical treatment a ventral slot surgical approach was performed; the spinal cord was decompressed and a gradual complete recovery was achieved. The present report shows that the above mentioned technique can be performed successfully in bears. This, to the author’s knowledge, is the first report describing a cervical disc herniation in the bear and the first describing a consequent ventral slot decompression surgery.

Additional Info

  • Authors: 1 Pitzorno I., 1 Destrero G., 1 Carrozza M., 2 Di Pirro V., 2 Gentile L.
  • Authors note: 1 Clinica Veterinaria Destrero, Via Filippo Bottazzi 9-13, 00152, Roma. | 2 Servizio Veterinario del Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, Viale Santa Lucia, 67032, Pescasseroli (AQ).
  • Year: 2020
  • Reference: Veterinaria Year 34, n. 3, June 2020
  • Pages: 137 - 142
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