A 3-year-old female bearded dragon ( Pogona vitticeps ) was presented to the Exotic Pet and Wildlife Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the National Autonomous University of Mexico with a three-day history of right hindlimb swelling. Radiographs revealed lysis of the right stifle and right tarsal bone. Fine-needle aspirate from the stifle revealed large numbers of macrophages and giant cells, no bacteria were seen. Ziehl-Neelsen stain revealed intracytoplasmic acid-fast bacilli-like bacteria. Standard aerobic culture was performed, with negative results. Pain management was covered with meloxicam (0.2 mg/kg PO q24h) and tramadol (11 mg/kg PO q12h); the owner declined antimicrobial therapy. Three weeks later, radiographs revealed the progression of the lytic lesions of the distal femur, proximal tibia, and tarsal bones. One month later, the patient showed left hindlimb swelling. Follow-up radiographs revealed a total loss of right stifle as well as tibiotarsal and tarsometatarsal joints; new lytic lesions appeared at the left stifle and tibiotarsal joints; euthanasia was elected. At the necropsy, granuloma-like lesions were found at the stifles, coxofemoral, tibiotarsal and tarsometatarsal joints; imprints made from these lesions revealed acid-fast bacilli conglomerates, no other gross lesions were identified. Histopathology results described severe granulomatous osteomyelitis and myositis as well as a severe histiocytic and heterophilic hepatitis with acid-fast intrahistiocytic bacilli. PCR results identified these bacteria as non-tuberculous mycobacteria. To our knowledge, this is the first post-mortem report of septic arthritis associated with Mycobacterium spp. in a bearded dragon, only two other cases have been reported, both without post-mortem findings.
Septic arthritis and granulomatous osteomyelitis in a bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) caused by Mycobacterium spp.
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Julian Vaillard, Laura A. B. Aguilar, Adriana Méndez Bernal, Isaac Martínez Racine, Ricardo Walter Czaplewski Cícero, Liliana Aurora Ramos Garduño; Septic arthritis and granulomatous osteomyelitis in a bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) caused by Mycobacterium spp.. Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.5818/JHMS-S-20-00009
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