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1.  Thoracic and Lumbar Vertebral Bone Mineral Density Changes in a Natural Occurring Dog Model of Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0124166.
Ankylosing spinal disorders can be associated with alterations in vertebral bone mineral density (BMD). There is however controversy about vertebral BMD in patients wuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). DISH in Boxer dogs has been considered a natural occurring disease model for DISH in people. The purpose of this study was to compare vertebral BMD between Boxers with and without DISH. Fifty-nine Boxers with (n=30) or without (n=29) DISH that underwent computed tomography were included. Vertebral BMD was calculated for each thoracic and lumbar vertebra by using an earlier reported and validated protocol. For each vertebral body, a region of interest was drawn on the axial computed tomographic images at three separate locations: immediately inferior to the superior end plate, in the middle of the vertebral body, and superior to the inferior end plate. Values from the three axial slices were averaged to give a mean Hounsfield Unit value for each vertebral body. Univariate statistical analysis was performed to identify factors to be included in a multivariate model. The multivariate model including all dogs demonstrated that vertebral DISH status (Coefficient 24.63; 95% CI 16.07 to 33.19; p <0.001), lumbar vertebrae (Coefficient -17.25; 95% CI -23.42 to -11.09; p < 0.01), and to a lesser extent higher age (Coefficient -0.56; 95% CI -1.07 to -0.05; p = 0.03) were significant predictors for vertebral BMD. When the multivariate model was repeated using only dogs with DISH, vertebral DISH status (Coefficient 20.67; 95% CI, 10.98 to 30.37; p < 0.001) and lumbar anatomical region (Coefficient -38.24; 95% CI, -47.75 to -28.73; p < 0.001) were again predictors for vertebral BMD but age was not. The results of this study indicate that DISH can be associated with decreased vertebral BMD. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the clinical importance and pathophysiology of this finding.
PMCID: PMC4405361  PMID: 25898128
2.  Intervertebral disk width in dogs with and without clinical signs of disk associated cervical spondylomyelopathy 
Disk-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy (DA-CSM) is a multifactorial neurological disorder in which progressive caudal cervical spinal cord compression is mainly caused by one or more intervertebral disk protrusions. The Doberman pinscher breed seems predisposed for this condition. The underlying cause and pathophysiology of DA-CSM are currently unknown. Recently, wider intervertebral disks have been put forward as a risk factor for development of clinically relevant DA-CSM. However, little is known about other factors affecting intervertebral disk width. Therefore the aim of this study was to assess the association between intervertebral disk width, measured on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and clinical status, age, gender and intervertebral disk location in dogs with and without clinical signs of DA-CSM.
Doberman pinschers with clinical signs of DA-CSM (N=17),clinically normal Doberman pinschers (N=20), and clinically normal English Foxhounds (N=17), underwent MRI of the cervical vertebral column. On sagittal T2-weighted images, intervertebral disk width was measured from C2-C3 to C6-C7. Intra –and interobserver agreement were assessed on a subset of 20 of the 54 imaging studies.
Intervertebral disk width was not significantly different between Doberman pinschers with clinical signs of DA-CSM, clinically normal Doberman pinschers or clinically normal English Foxhounds (p=0.43). Intervertebral disk width was positively associated with increasing age (p=0.029). Each monthly increase in age resulted in an increase of disk width by 0.0057mm. Intervertebral disk width was not significantly affected by gender (p=0.056), but was significantly influenced by intervertebral disk location (p <0.0001). The assessed measurements were associated with a good intra –and interobserver agreement.
The present study does not provide evidence that wider intervertebral disks are associated with clinical status in dogs with and without DA-CSM. Instead, it seems that cervical intervertebral disk width in dogs is positively associated with increase in age.
PMCID: PMC3411421  PMID: 22839697
Cervical spondylomyelopathy; Wobbler syndrome; Magnetic resonance imaging; Morphometry; Intervertebral disk

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