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Prevalence of vertebral malformations in brachycephalic dogs

R. Ryan, R. Gutierrez-Quintana, G. ter Haar, S. De Decker

CONGENTIAL vertebral malformations are common in small brachycephalic dogs and are most frequently found in the thoracic vertebral column, affecting single or multiple vertebrae. Although the exact aetiology is unclear, they are assumed to be hereditary.

This study aimed to describe and compare the type and prevalence of thoracic vertebral malformations in French bulldogs, pugs and English bulldogs, with and without neurological deficits.

The type and prevalence of thoracic vertebral malformations in 171 neurologically normal (62 French bulldogs, 68 pugs and 41 English bulldogs) and 10 neurologically abnormal (one French bulldog and nine pugs) screw-tailed brachycephalic dogs were evaluated. Neurologically normal dogs underwent CT, while affected dogs underwent MRI. Imaging studies were reviewed and vertebral malformations were documented.

Overall, 80.7 per cent of neurologically normal dogs were affected by at least one vertebral malformation. There was a significant influence of breed, with thoracic vertebral malformations occurring more often in neurologically normal French bulldogs and English bulldogs. Hemivertebrae occurred more often in neurologically normal French bulldogs and less often in neurologically normal Pugs. Neurologically normal …

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