Congenital Malformations of Screw Tailed Breeds
A study reviewed the prevalence of congenital vertebral malformations in "screw-tailed" brachycephalic dogs, including French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Pugs. Researchers evaluated dogs that presented for problems unrelated to spinal disease. CT scans of vertebrae L6 to S3 and of the coccygeal vertebrae were reviewed for type of congenital vertebral malformations (hemivertebrae, block vertebrae, lumbosacral transitional vertebrae, and spina bifida), lumbosacral intervertebral disc herniation, lumbosacral spondylosis deformans, and degree of tail malformation.
In 76 (51.0%) of the 149 included dogs (53 French Bulldogs, 37 English Bulldogs, and 59 Pugs) at least one type of congenital vertebral malformations was found, with lumbosacral transitional vertebrae being the most common (34.2%). There was a significantly higher prevalence of lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (54.2%) and lower prevalence of hemivertebrae (1.7%) in Pugs compared to English (13.5% and 24.3%, respectively) and French Bulldogs (26.4% and 32.0%, respectively). Tail malformation was significantly more severe in dogs with evidence of hemivertebrae. Congenital vertebral malformations are a common finding in the lumbosacral vertebral column of French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Pugs.
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