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Keywords:

  • Bone morphogenetic proteins;
  • Congenital vertebral malformation;
  • Dorsal cervical laminectomy;
  • Spinous process

Objectives

To report the clinical presentation, imaging characteristics, treatment results, and histopathological findings of a previously undescribed vertebral malformation in the Basset Hound.

Animals and Methods

Retrospective case series study. Eighteen Basset Hounds presented for evaluation of a suspected cervical spinal cord problem. All dogs underwent computed tomography myelography or magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical region.

Results

Thirteen male and 5 female Basset Hounds between 6 months and 10.8 years of age (median: 1.4 years) were studied. Clinical signs varied from cervical hyperesthesia to nonambulatory tetraparesis. Imaging demonstrated a well-defined and smooth hypertrophy of the dorsal lamina and spinous process of ≥2 adjacent vertebrae. Although this bony abnormality could decrease the ventrodorsal vertebral canal diameter, dorsal midline spinal cord compression was predominantly caused by ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. The articulation between C4 and C5 was most commonly affected. Three dogs were lost to follow-up, 10 dogs underwent dorsal laminectomy, and medical management was initiated in 5 dogs. Surgery resulted in a good outcome with short hospitalization times (median: 4.5 days) in all dogs, whereas medical management produced more variable results. Histopathology confirmed ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and demonstrated the fibrocartilaginous nature of this anomaly.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

Dorsal lamina and spinous process hypertrophy leading to ligamentum flavum hypertrophy should be included in the differential diagnosis of Basset Hounds with cervical hyperesthesia or myelopathy. Prognosis after decompressive surgery is favorable. Although a genetic component is suspected, additional studies are needed to determine the specific etiology of this disorder.