Successful Treatment of Mandibular Osteomyelitis in Two Red-Necked Wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) Using Long-Term Pharmaceutical Therapy and Serial Monitoring by Computed Tomography Imaging
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2014
Lauren Kane1, BS; Jennifer N. Langan1,2, DVM, DACZM; Michael J. Adkesson2, DVM, DACZM; Sathya Chinnadurai2, DVM, DACZM, DACVA; Benjamin N. Nevitt3, DVM; Randi Drees4, Dr. med vet, DACVR, DECVDI, MRCVS
1College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA; 2Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL, USA; 3Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Animal Residency Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA; 4The Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom


Mandibular necrobacillosis is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality of macropods and is frequently diagnosed in captive red-necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus).1 The prognosis for mandibular osteomyelitis in this species has been reported to be especially poor, with only a 16% survival rate even after one year of treatment.3 Macropods are more susceptible to developing this condition when fed a poor quality diet (abrasive or poor quality forage) that results in oral trauma and when maintained in overcrowded environments.2 However, even animals with excellent husbandry and diet are commonly affected with this progressive disease. This report describes the successful treatment of mandibular osteomyelitis in two red-necked wallabies which presented acutely with mandibular swelling, hypersalivation, and decreased appetite. Long-term parenteral antibiotic therapy with intravenous clindamycin (17–21 mg/kg IV q 12 h, 40 days) and high-dose benzathine penicillin G (80,000 IU/kg SQ q 12 h, 150 days) was used in combination with serial computed tomography (CT) imaging to evaluate the response to treatment and resolution of disease. The animals tolerated extended hospitalization, intravenous catheters, and daily treatment very well. The use of advanced imaging was integral to the animals’ successful treatment, as the osseous changes visible on CT were not visible on standard radiographs and guided therapeutic decision-making. The duration of treatment was dictated by serial CT assessments of osteolysis and resolution of lesions. Reports of cure with necrobaccillosis in macropods are extremely rare. This report provides new therapeutic and diagnostic monitoring recommendations to assist clinicians presented with similar cases of mandibular necrobacillosis in macropod species.

Literature Cited

1.  Bakal-Weiss M, Steinberg D, Friedman M, Gati I, Avni-Magen N, Kaufman E, Lavy E. Use of sustained release chlorhexidine varnish as treatment of oral necrobacillosis in Macropus spp. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2010;41(2):371–373.

2.  Leighton FA. Fusobacterium necrophorum infection. In: Barker IK, Williams ES, eds. Infectious Diseases of Wild Mammals. 3rd edition. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press; 2001:493–496.

3.  Vogelnest L, Portas T. Macropods. In: Vogelnest L, Woods R, eds. Medicine of Australian Mammals. Collingwood, VI, Australia: CSIRO Publishing; 2008:133–226.


Speaker Information
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Lauren Kane, BS
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL, USA

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