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  • Author or Editor: Sebastian C. Knell x
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OBJECTIVE To provide an objective, quantitative morphometric description of the caudal cervical intervertebral disk (IVD) spaces of dogs.

SAMPLE Vertebral specimens consisting of C4 through C7 from 5 medium-sized dogs.

PROCEDURES CT images were obtained with the specimens positioned in neutral, flexion, extension, and lateral bending positions. Size and shape of the cranial and caudal end plates, angle between the end plates (IVD wedge angle), and craniocaudal distance (IVD width) between end plates for the 4 loading positions were measured and compared for the 3 segments (C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7).

RESULTS End plate size and shape, IVD wedge angle, and IVD width were not significantly different among the 3 segments. Caudal cervical end plates were consistently larger than cranial cervical end plates. The IVD wedge angle ranged from −4.8° to 15.2°. Flexion induced a reduction in IVD width in the ventral portion of the IVD, whereas extension induced a decrease in width in the dorsal portion of the IVD. Central IVD width remained unchanged among the loading positions.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Unique morphometric and dynamic characteristics of the caudal cervical IVD space of dogs were detected. These findings may help investigators when designing IVD prostheses for dogs with cervical spondylomyelopathy.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To evaluate intradiskal pressure (IDP) in the C6-7 intervertebral disk (IVD) after destabilization and distraction-fusion of the C5-C6 vertebrae.


7 cadaveric C4-T1 vertebral specimens with no evidence of IVD disease from large-breed dogs.


Specimens were mounted in a custom-made 6 degrees of freedom spinal loading simulator so the C5-C6 and C6-C7 segments remained mobile. One specimen remained untreated and was used to assess the repeatability of the IDP measurement protocol. Six specimens underwent 3 sequential configurations (untreated, partial diskectomy of the C5-6 IVD, and distraction-fusion of the C5-C6 vertebrae). Each construct was biomechanically tested under neutral, flexion, extension, and right-lateral bending loads. The IDP was measured with a pressure transducer inserted into the C6-7 IVD and compared between the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus and across all 3 constructs and 4 loads.


Compared with untreated constructs, partial diskectomy and distraction-fusion of C5-C6 decreased the mean ± SD IDP in the C6-7 IVD by 1.3 ± 1.3% and 0.8 ± 1.3%, respectively. During motion, the IDP remained fairly constant in the annulus fibrosus and increased by 3.8 ± 3.0% in the nucleus pulposus. The increase in IDP within the nucleus pulposus was numerically greatest during flexion but did not differ significantly among loading conditions.


Distraction-fusion of C5-C6 did not significantly alter the IDP of healthy C6-7 IVDs. Effects of vertebral distraction-fusion on the IDP of adjacent IVDs with degenerative changes, such as those in dogs with caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy, warrant investigation.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine angles of insertion for laminar vertebral fixation of L1 and L2 by use of a locking plate in dogs and to confirm screw placement by use of computed tomography (CT).

Sample—Vertebral specimens harvested from 8 canine cadavers.

Procedures—The point of insertion and minimum and maximum insertion angles for laminar and facet screws for laminar vertebral stabilization were determined by use of CT. A precontoured locking plate was then placed by use of 1 locking screw in the lamina of each lumbar vertebra and 1 nonlocking screw in the facet joint. The position and angle of the screws were examined by use of CT, and penetration into the vertebral canal was recorded.

Results—Mean ± SD insertion angles for L1 and L2 were 18 ± 4° and 21 ± 5° toward the vertebral canal and 11 ± 4.4° and 10 ± 3° in a dorsal direction, respectively. Insertion angles for the facet joint were between 24 ± 4° ventrally and 12 ± 2° dorsally. Insertion of the screw did not penetrate the vertebral canal for 23 of 24 (96%) screws. For 23 of 24 inserted screws, the previously determined angle was maintained and purchase of bone and cortices was satisfactory.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Placement of laminar and facet screws in canine vertebrae was possible and can be performed safely if angles of insertion determined pre-operatively via CT are maintained.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare biomechanical characteristics of vertebral segments after vertebral body plating or laminar stabilization following complete incision of the annulus fibrosus.

Sample—Vertebral segments from T13 through L3 obtained from 18 canine cadavers.

Procedures—A 4-point bending moment was applied in flexion and extension to the intact vertebral segments to determine a baseline range of motion (ROM) and neutral zone (NZ). Vertebral columns were then destabilized by creating a defect in the intervertebral disk via complete incision of the ventral aspect of the annulus fibrosus. The bending moment was applied again after stabilization was accomplished via vertebral body plating or with laminar stabilization (n = 9 vertebral segments/stabilization technique). The ROM and NZ were compared with their baseline values and among treatment groups. Finally, load-to-failure testing was performed in flexion.

Results—Mean relative ROM and NZ for segments treated with laminar stabilization were significantly lower than those for segments treated with vertebral plates.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis of in vitro results suggested that laminar stabilization of vertebral segments provided greater stiffness than did vertebral body plating.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research