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Clinical Communication

Spinal spondylosis and acute intervertebral disc prolapse in a European brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) : clinical communication

W.M. Wagner, M.P. Hartley, N.M. Duncan, M.G. Barrows

Journal of the South African Veterinary Association; Vol 76, No 2 (2005), 120-122. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v76i2.410

Submitted: 13 June 2005
Published:  13 June 2005


A 22-year-old male European brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) was presented to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital after an acute onset of hind limb paralysis 4 days earlier. Previous radiographs revealed marked degenerative joint disease of the stifles, tarsi and digits. The clinical findings were consistent with acute disc prolapse. Lateral radiographs of the entire vertebral column were made as well as ventrodorsal pelvic radiographs. The latter were within normal limits. The vertebral column revealed multiple lesions consistent with chronic and acute disc herniations. Lateral compression of the caudal lumbar nerve roots could not be ruled out. Owing to multiple significant findings of the vertebral column and the poor prognosis for full recovery after surgery, the bear was euthanased. The diagnosis of an acute disc prolapse and multiple chronic disc herniations was confirmed on necropsy.

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Author affiliations

W.M. Wagner,
M.P. Hartley,
N.M. Duncan,
M.G. Barrows,


Brown Bear; Disc Disease; Disc Herniation; Radiography; Ursus Arctos Arctos; Zoo Animal


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ISSN: 1019-9128 (print) | ISSN: 2224-9435 (online)

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