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Incidence of intervertebral disk degeneration–related diseases and associated mortality rates in dogs

Niklas Bergknut Dr med vet, PhD1,2, Agneta Egenvall Dr med vet, PhD3, Ragnvi Hagman Dr med vet, PhD4, Pia Gustås Dr med vet, PhD5, Herman A. W. Hazewinkel Dr med vet, PhD6, Björn P. Meij Dr med vet, PhD7, and Anne-Sofie Lagerstedt Dr med vet, PhD8
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 7 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 8 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the incidence and distribution of intervertebral disk (IVD) degeneration–related diseases in a large population of dogs of various breeds, ages, and sexes and to determine mortality rates among dogs with these diseases.

Design—Epidemiological study.

Sample—Insurance data for dogs with veterinary health-care and life insurance coverage (n = 665,249 and 552,120, respectively).

Procedures—Insurance claim records of 1 company in Sweden were searched to identify dogs with IVD degeneration–related diseases; incidence and mortality rates were determined for affected dogs < 12 years old and < 10 years old, respectively. Only the first paid IVD degeneration–related claim for a dog was included in incidence rate calculations.

Results—The incidence rate of IVD degeneration–related diseases was 27.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 27.2 to 28.4) occurrences/10,000 dog-years at risk (DYAR), indicating that approximately 0.3% of dogs/y in this population were affected. Miniature Dachshund was the most highly represented breed, followed by Standard Dachshund and Doberman Pinscher (237.1 [95% CI, 212.9 to 261.4], 141.5 [95% CI, 135.5 to 147.4], and 88.6 [95% CI, 72.1 to 105.2] occurrences/10,000 DYAR, respectively). The incidence rate of IVD degeneration–related disease was greater in male than in female dogs and increased with age. Overall mortality rate attributed to IVD degeneration–related diseases was 9.4 (95% CI, 8.9 to 9.8) deaths/10,000 DYAR and was greater in males than in females.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Differences in incidence rates among various breeds suggested a genetic involvement. Knowledge of the distribution of IVD degeneration–related diseases among dogs of various breeds and ages may facilitate early diagnosis and preemptive treatments in patients at risk for developing these diseases.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the incidence and distribution of intervertebral disk (IVD) degeneration–related diseases in a large population of dogs of various breeds, ages, and sexes and to determine mortality rates among dogs with these diseases.

Design—Epidemiological study.

Sample—Insurance data for dogs with veterinary health-care and life insurance coverage (n = 665,249 and 552,120, respectively).

Procedures—Insurance claim records of 1 company in Sweden were searched to identify dogs with IVD degeneration–related diseases; incidence and mortality rates were determined for affected dogs < 12 years old and < 10 years old, respectively. Only the first paid IVD degeneration–related claim for a dog was included in incidence rate calculations.

Results—The incidence rate of IVD degeneration–related diseases was 27.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 27.2 to 28.4) occurrences/10,000 dog-years at risk (DYAR), indicating that approximately 0.3% of dogs/y in this population were affected. Miniature Dachshund was the most highly represented breed, followed by Standard Dachshund and Doberman Pinscher (237.1 [95% CI, 212.9 to 261.4], 141.5 [95% CI, 135.5 to 147.4], and 88.6 [95% CI, 72.1 to 105.2] occurrences/10,000 DYAR, respectively). The incidence rate of IVD degeneration–related disease was greater in male than in female dogs and increased with age. Overall mortality rate attributed to IVD degeneration–related diseases was 9.4 (95% CI, 8.9 to 9.8) deaths/10,000 DYAR and was greater in males than in females.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Differences in incidence rates among various breeds suggested a genetic involvement. Knowledge of the distribution of IVD degeneration–related diseases among dogs of various breeds and ages may facilitate early diagnosis and preemptive treatments in patients at risk for developing these diseases.

Contributor Notes

Supported by grants from Professor Gerhard Forsell's foundation, the Foundation for Research, Agria Insurance, and the Swedish Kennel Club.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bergknut (n.bergknut@uu.nl).