Subclinical CT abnormalities in the lumbosacral spine of older large-breed dogs

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Jones JC, Inzana KD.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2000;41:19-26.

Computed tomography (CT) of the L5-S3 vertebral levels was performed in six, large-breed dogs presented for problems unrelated to the lumbosacral spine. All dogs were asymptomatic for lumbosacral stenosis on neurologic examination. Breeds included German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Boxermix and Belgian Malinois. Ages ranged from 5-12 years. Five out of six dogs exhibited CT abnormalities. Among the 18 disc levels examined, the most common findings were idiopathic stenosis, loss of vertebral canal epidural fat, and nerve tissue displacement. Less common abnormalities were vertebral canal or foraminal bone proliferation, loss of intervertebral foramen fat, vertebral canal disc bulging, degenerative articular process joint disease, transitional vertebra, dural ossification, foraminal disc bulging, Schmorl’s nodes, calcified extruded disc fragment, and sacroiliac joint osteophytes. Vertebral subluxation was absent in all dogs. Findings indicate that some lumbosacral CT abnormalities may be clinically insignificant, especially in older dogs.