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Comparison of medical and/or surgical management of 23 cats with intracranial empyema or abscessation

Martin, Sophie, Drees, Randi, Szladovits, Balazs, Beltran, Elsa
Journal of feline medicine and surgery 2019 v.21 no.6 pp. 566-574
cats, image analysis, magnetic resonance imaging, surgery
Feline intracranial abscessation or empyema is infrequently reported in the veterinary literature. To date, the largest study is based on a population of 19 cats with otogenic infection. The aim of this study was to review a larger population of cats with intracranial empyema from multiple aetiologies and document their signalment, imaging findings, treatment protocols (including medical and/or surgical management) and to compare outcomes. Cases presenting to a single referral centre over a 10 year period with compatible history, neurological signs and imaging findings consistent with intracranial abscessation and empyema were reviewed retrospectively. Twenty-three cats met the inclusion criteria. Advanced imaging (CT and/or MRI) was performed in 22/23 cats; one case was diagnosed via ultrasound. Ten cases underwent medical and surgical management combined, 10 underwent solely medical management and three were euthanased at the time of diagnosis. Short-term outcome showed that 90% of surgically managed and 80% of medically managed cats were alive at 48 h post-diagnosis. Long-term survival showed that surgically managed cases and medically managed cases had a median survival time of 730 days (range 1–3802 days) and 183 days (range 1–1216 days), respectively. No statistical significance in short- or long-term survival (P >0.05) was found between medically and surgically managed groups. Feline intracranial abscessation and empyema are uncommon conditions that have historically been treated with combined surgical and medical management. This study documents that, in some cases, intracranial abscessation and empyema can also be successfully treated with medical management alone.