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Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2006 Jan-Feb;47(1):32-8.

Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae in dogs: classification, prevalence, and association with sacroiliac morphology.

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Section of Neurology, Department of Small Animal Clinics, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland.


The prevalence of lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LTV) was determined by reviewing the pelvic radiographs of 4000 medium- and large-breed dogs of 144 breeds routinely screened for canine hip dysplasia. An LTV was seen in 138 (3.5%) dogs. The prevalence was higher in German Shepherd dogs and Greater Swiss Mountain dogs than in the other breeds, suggesting a genetic predisposition. There was no gender predisposition. The transverse processes of the LTV were divided into three types based on their morphological characteristics: lumbar type or type 1; intermediate type or type 2; and sacral type or type 3. In a symmetric LTV, both transverse processes are of the same type, while in an asymmetric LTV they are not. The frequency of occurrence of symmetric and asymmetric LTV was similar. In symmetric LTV, intermediate-type transverse processes predominated. Most of the asymmetric LTV had an intermediate-type transverse process combined with a lumbar or sacral type, respectively. Highly asymmetric LTV were often angled relative to the adjacent vertebrae. We hypothesize that an LTV is not the result of transformation of a lumbar into a sacral vertebra or vice versa, but rather is an autonomous intermediate type of vertebra. It occurs when the point of contact of the pelvis with the vertebral column is slightly cranial or caudal to its normal position. The resulting formative stimulus on the vertebral ossification centers, sagittally still separated, causes the various morphologies seen in LTV including the asymmetric variations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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