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
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)