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Evaluation of the rostral projection of the sacral lamina as a component of degenerative lumbosacral stenosis in German shepherd dogs

Saunders, Harvey, Worth, Andrew J., Bridges, Janis P., Hartman, Angela
Veterinary surgery 2018 v.47 no.5 pp. 654-663
German Shepherd, cohort studies, computed tomography, dogs, image analysis, pets, police, radiography, risk factors, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), surgery
OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between a greater rostral projection of the sacral lamina and clinical signs of cauda equina syndrome (CES) in German shepherd dogs (GSD) with presumptive degenerative lumbosacral disease (DLSS). STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SAMPLE POPULATION: One hundred forty‐three GSD (125 police dogs and 18 pet dogs) presenting for either CES or prebreeding evaluation. Fifty‐five were classified as affected by CES and diagnosed with DLSS, and 88 were classified as unaffected on the basis of clinical and imaging findings. METHODS: The position of the rostral edge of the sacral lamina was measured from radiographs and/or computed tomography (CT) scans. This position was compared between affected and unaffected dogs. In dogs that underwent both radiography and CT scanning, the agreement between sacral lamina localization using each imaging modality was determined. Owners/handlers were contacted to determine whether dogs subsequently developed clinical signs compatible with CES at a mean of 29 months (unaffected). RESULTS: The sacral lamina did not extend as far rostrally in affected dogs, compared to unaffected dogs (P = .04). Among the 88 dogs unaffected by CES at initial evaluation, 2 developed clinical signs consistent with CES at follow‐up. CONCLUSION: Rostral projection of the sacral lamina, previously proposed as a potential risk factor in dogs with CES due to lumbosacral degeneration, was not associated with a diagnosis of DLSS in this study; the opposite was true. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Rostral projection of the sacral lamina may not be a predisposing factor in the development of CES due to DLSS in GSD.