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Facet joint geometry and intervertebral disk degeneration in the L5-S1 region of the vertebral column in German Shepherd Dogs

Gabriela S. SeilerSection of Radiology, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Bern, Länggasse 122+128/Bremgartenstrasse 109a, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

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Hansjürg HäniInstitute for Animal Pathology, University of Bern, Länggasse 122+128/Bremgartenstrasse 109a, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

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André R. BusatoInstitute for Zootechnics, University of Bern, Länggasse 122+128/Bremgartenstrasse 109a, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
Maurice E. Müller Foundation, Murtenstrasse 35, PO Box 8354, 3008 Bern, Switzerland.

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Johann LangSection of Radiology, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Bern, Länggasse 122+128/Bremgartenstrasse 109a, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the possible association between facet joint geometry and intervertebral disk degeneration in German Shepherd Dogs.

Animals—25 German Shepherd Dogs and 11 control dogs of similar body weight and condition.

Procedure—Facet joint angles in the caudal portion of the lumbar region of the vertebral column (L5-S1) were measured by use of computed tomography, and the intervertebral discs were evaluated microscopically. The relationship between facet joint geometry and disk degeneration was evaluated by use of statistical methods.

Results—German Shepherd Dogs had significantly more facet joint tropism than control dogs, but an association with disk degeneration was not found. However, German Shepherd Dogs had a different facet joint conformation, with more sagittally oriented facet joints at L5-L6 and L6-L7 and a larger angle difference between the lumbar and lumbosacral facet joints, compared with control dogs.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—A large difference between facet joint angles at L6-L7 and L7-S1 in German Shepherd Dogs may be associated with the frequent occurrence of lumbosacral disk degeneration in this breed. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:86f–90)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the possible association between facet joint geometry and intervertebral disk degeneration in German Shepherd Dogs.

Animals—25 German Shepherd Dogs and 11 control dogs of similar body weight and condition.

Procedure—Facet joint angles in the caudal portion of the lumbar region of the vertebral column (L5-S1) were measured by use of computed tomography, and the intervertebral discs were evaluated microscopically. The relationship between facet joint geometry and disk degeneration was evaluated by use of statistical methods.

Results—German Shepherd Dogs had significantly more facet joint tropism than control dogs, but an association with disk degeneration was not found. However, German Shepherd Dogs had a different facet joint conformation, with more sagittally oriented facet joints at L5-L6 and L6-L7 and a larger angle difference between the lumbar and lumbosacral facet joints, compared with control dogs.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—A large difference between facet joint angles at L6-L7 and L7-S1 in German Shepherd Dogs may be associated with the frequent occurrence of lumbosacral disk degeneration in this breed. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:86f–90)