Is this something that breeders are keeping an eye on?
Quote: Transitional lumbosacral vertebral anomaly in the dog: a radiographic study.
J Small Anim Pract. 1999 Apr;40(4):167-72.
Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.
Transitional lumbosacral vertebral anomalies have for some time been suggested as a possible cause of cauda equina syndrome (especially in the German shepherd dog [GSD]), a condition recently thought to be inherited. The frequency of this condition within a large clinical population and the radiographic features used in its detection are reported. In a group of 143 patients, the sexes were similarly represented and the GSD was greatly overrepresented. The anomaly is characterised by separation of the first sacral segment that was identified on the lateral view by the presence of a radiolucent disc space between what are normally the first and second sacral segments. On the ventrodorsal view, the anomaly was characterised by separation of the spinous processes between what are normally the first and second sacral segments. In the presence of the transitional segment, the nature of the sacroiliac joint at the level of the anomalous segment varies from a strong ilial attachment, with the presence of a wing-like lateral process, to a weakened ilial attachment because of the presence of a lateral process, shaped as that seen on a lumbar segment. These patterns were present unilaterally or bilaterally and result in symmetrical or asymmetrical patterns. The effect of the weakening of the sacroiliac attachment was thought to result in premature disc degeneration, which, together with spinal canal stenosis, resulted in potential compression of the overlying spinal nerves and creation of a cauda equina syndrome. The condition is thought to have clinical significance and should be selected against in breeding, especially in the GSD.