Bacterial diskospondylitis associated with posterior paresis/paralysis in North American farmed mink (Mustela vison)

E. J. Olson, J. B. Parker, C. S. Carlson

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4 Scopus citations


Posterior paresis/paralysis in farmed mink is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality, with individual farms reporting the loss of as many as 700 animals each year. Although this disease has been recognized by North American mink farmers for approximately 40 years, there are few published reports focusing on this entity. The objective of this study was to investigate the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease. Complete necropsy examinations were done on 40 clinically affected mink, ranging from 7 to 10 weeks of age, and on three normal animals in the same age range from two mink farms. Thirty-two of the 40 clinically affected animals had an isolated vertebral lesion characterized by bone lysis and proliferation that usually was centered on an intervertebral disk space in the midthoracic area. An inflammatory reaction, composed primarily of neutrophils, was present within the vertebral sections in 25 of the 40 affected animals (62.5%), and the presence of gram-positive cocci was confirmed in 8 of 10 animals (80%) in which bacterial organisms were observed histologically. Bacterial cultures from 15 affected animals yielded Streptococcus sp. from the intervertebral disk space in 13 of 15 (86.7%) animals and from heart blood in 6 of 8 (75%). A farm visit revealed no history or evidence of traumatic wounds as a source of infection in these animals, and the diet appeared to be adequate for skeletal development. We conclude that posterior paresis/paralysis in farmed mink is associated with bacterial diskospondylitis, likely occurring secondary to bacteremia/septicemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Bacterial diskospondylitis (spondylodiscitis)
  • Beta-hemolytic Streptococcus sp.
  • Intervertebral disk
  • North American mink (mustela vison)
  • Posterior paresis/paralysis
  • Thoracic vertebrae


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