A proposed radiographic classification scheme for congenital thoracic vertebral malformations in brachycephalic "screw-tailed" dog breeds

Rodrigo Gutierrez-Quintana, Julien Guevar, Catherine Stalin, Kiterie Faller, Carmen Yeamans, Jacques Penderis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Congenital vertebral malformations are common in brachycephalic "screw-tailed" dog breeds such as French bulldogs, English bulldogs, Boston terriers, and pugs. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine whether a radiographic classification scheme developed for use in humans would be feasible for use in these dog breeds. Inclusion criteria were hospital admission between September 2009 and April 2013, neurologic examination findings available, diagnostic quality lateral and ventro-dorsal digital radiographs of the thoracic vertebral column, and at least one congenital vertebral malformation. Radiographs were retrieved and interpreted by two observers who were unaware of neurologic status. Vertebral malformations were classified based on a classification scheme modified from a previous human study and a consensus of both observers. Twenty-eight dogs met inclusion criteria (12 with neurologic deficits, 16 with no neurologic deficits). Congenital vertebral malformations affected 85/362 (23.5%) of thoracic vertebrae. Vertebral body formation defects were the most common (butterfly vertebrae 6.6%, ventral wedge-shaped vertebrae 5.5%, dorsal hemivertebrae 0.8%, and dorso-lateral hemivertebrae 0.5%). No lateral hemivertebrae or lateral wedge-shaped vertebrae were identified. The T7 vertebra was the most commonly affected (11/28 dogs), followed by T8 (8/28 dogs) and T12 (8/28 dogs). The number and type of vertebral malformations differed between groups (P = 0.01). Based on MRI, dorsal, and dorso-lateral hemivertebrae were the cause of spinal cord compression in 5/12 (41.6%) of dogs with neurologic deficits. Findings indicated that a modified human radiographic classification system of vertebral malformations is feasible for use in future studies of brachycephalic "screw-tailed" dogs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-91
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Radiology & Ultrasound
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Congenital Abnormalities
  • Dog Diseases
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Species Specificity
  • Spinal Cord Compression
  • Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Journal Article


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