Prevalence of radiographic detectable intervertebral disc calcifications in Dachshunds surgically treated for disc extrusion.

University Animal Hospital, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7040, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica (Impact Factor: 1). 01/2010; 52:24. DOI: 10.1186/1751-0147-52-24
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An association between the occurrence of calcified discs, visible on radiographic examination (CDVR), and disc extrusions has been suggested in published literature over the past 10-20 years, mainly from Nordic countries. It has also been postulated that dogs without CDVR would not develop disc extrusions. Furthermore, inheritance of CDVR has been calculated and it has been postulated that, by selecting dogs for breeding with few, or no CDVR, the prevalence of disc extrusions in the Dachshund population may be reduced.
The prevalence of radiographic detectable intervertebral disc calcifications was calculated from one hundred surgeries for disc extrusion, performed in 95 Dachshunds, in order to determine if the disc causing clinically significant IVDD, had radiographic signs of calcification at the time of confirmed disc extrusion. Inclusion criteria, for each dog, included a complete physical, orthopedic and neurologic examination, radiographs of the entire vertebral column, a myelogram or magnetic resonance imaging examination indicating extradural spinal cord compression, and finally a surgical procedure confirming the diagnosis of a disc extrusion. In addition to descriptive statistics, age correlation with number of calcifications visible at radiographic examination and with CDVR at the surgery site was examined.
We found that disc extrusions occur as frequently in discs that are found to have radiographic evidence of calcification as those discs that do not have signs of radiographic calcification, and that IVDD (intervertebral disc disease) requiring surgery does occur in the absence of any calcified discs on radiographic examination. We found that calcified discs were more frequent in our Dachshund population compared to previous studies suggesting that disc calcification might be a serious risk factor for developing disc extrusion. Further studies are needed to show, conclusively, if selection of breeding dogs based on CDVR in the Dachshund will reduce the incidence of IVDD. The presence of the calcifications of intervertebral disc should be evaluated with caution, as only part of the calcifications will be detected and the real extent of the disc degeneration may be underestimated.

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