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Evaluation of the dens-to-axis length ratio and dens angle in toy-breed dogs with and without atlantoaxial instability and in healthy Beagles

Fumitaka Takahashi DVM1,2, Takaharu Hakozaki DVM, PhD3, Nobuo Kanno DVM, PhD4, Yasuji Harada DVM, PhD5, Shinya Yamaguchi DVM, PhD6,7, and Yasushi Hara DVM, PhD8
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  • 1 Division of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1 Kyonan-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan.
  • | 2 YPC Tokyo Animal Orthopedic Surgery Hospital, 7-1-13 Oojima, Koutou-ku, Tokyo, 136-0072, Japan.
  • | 3 Division of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1 Kyonan-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan.
  • | 4 Division of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1 Kyonan-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan.
  • | 5 Division of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1 Kyonan-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan.
  • | 6 Division of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1 Kyonan-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan.
  • | 7 YPC Tokyo Animal Orthopedic Surgery Hospital, 7-1-13 Oojima, Koutou-ku, Tokyo, 136-0072, Japan.
  • | 8 Division of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1 Kyonan-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate and compare morphological characteristics of the dens in atlantoaxial instability (AAI)-predisposed toy-breed dogs (TBDs) with and without AAI and non–AAI-predisposed healthy Beagles.

ANIMALS 80 AAI-affected and 40 nonaffected TBDs and 40 Beagles.

PROCEDURES Each dog underwent CT examination of the cervical vertebral column. On median 3-D multiplanar reconstruction images, the dens angle (DA) was measured as were the lengths of the dens and the body of the axis; the dens-to-axis length ratio (ratio of the dens length to the axis body length [DALR]) was calculated. Data were compared among dog groups.

RESULTS The DALR in nonaffected TBDs and Beagles did not differ significantly. The mean DALR for AAI-affected TBDs was significantly lower than that for nonaffected TBDs. The mean DA of AAI-affected TBDs was significantly greater than that of Beagles and nonaffected TBDs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that a low DALR might be associated with a high probability of dens abnormalities in TBDs. Additionally, dens length in AAI-affected TBDs appeared to be smaller than that in non–AAI-affected TBDs, given the low DALR in AAI-affected TBDs. Further investigations to determine reference ranges of the DA and DALR and the potential usefulness of those variables as diagnostic markers for AAI in TBDs are warranted.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate and compare morphological characteristics of the dens in atlantoaxial instability (AAI)-predisposed toy-breed dogs (TBDs) with and without AAI and non–AAI-predisposed healthy Beagles.

ANIMALS 80 AAI-affected and 40 nonaffected TBDs and 40 Beagles.

PROCEDURES Each dog underwent CT examination of the cervical vertebral column. On median 3-D multiplanar reconstruction images, the dens angle (DA) was measured as were the lengths of the dens and the body of the axis; the dens-to-axis length ratio (ratio of the dens length to the axis body length [DALR]) was calculated. Data were compared among dog groups.

RESULTS The DALR in nonaffected TBDs and Beagles did not differ significantly. The mean DALR for AAI-affected TBDs was significantly lower than that for nonaffected TBDs. The mean DA of AAI-affected TBDs was significantly greater than that of Beagles and nonaffected TBDs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that a low DALR might be associated with a high probability of dens abnormalities in TBDs. Additionally, dens length in AAI-affected TBDs appeared to be smaller than that in non–AAI-affected TBDs, given the low DALR in AAI-affected TBDs. Further investigations to determine reference ranges of the DA and DALR and the potential usefulness of those variables as diagnostic markers for AAI in TBDs are warranted.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Takahashi (takataka.pc1138@gmail.com).