The etiology of acute hematogenous osteomyelitis (AHO) remains unknown, and the disease has no laboratory model. We describe an AHO model in the rabbit which resembles the human disease. The model was developed on the premise that previous attempts had omitted an essential etiologic factor other than the bacteria. Six-week-old white New Zealand rabbits were divided into three different groups. Group I received an injury to the proximal tibial physeal plate, group II received a standardized bacteremia with Staphylococcus aureus, and group III received both the fracture and the bacteremia. The physeal plate injuries healed within 7 days. The animals with bacteremia only had occasional small foci of osteomyelitis identified histologically. The animals with fracture and bacteremia developed significant osteomyelitis in almost all cases.

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