Regarding hereditary diseases, the popular and common Retrievers are mainly affected by maladies of the skeletal system, in particular suffering from hip and elbow dysplasia.
Additionally, many studies have shown a growing incidence of transitional vertebrae, with anomalies of the lumbosacral area being regarded as the cause for the most serious clinical consequences.
This study deals with the prevalence of lumbosacral transitional vertebrae in Retriever dogs presented between 2000 and 2010 for evaluation of hip dysplasia at the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine.
Transitional vertebras are classified into three different types, type I showing an isolated spinal process of the first sacral vertebra, type II describing a symmetric transitional vertebra and type III indicating asymmetric transitional vertebras.
Results show an equal prevalence in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Flat Coated Retrievers, with female animals being more frequently affected than males.
A statistically significant association between presence of asymmetric transitional vertebra and diagnosis of low to high grade hip dysplasia is demonstrated. Golden Retrievers are most commonly affected by lumbosacral transitional vertebras. Additionally, this breed presents the highest number in HD E.
Flatcoated Retrievers are the least affected by lumbosacral transitional vertebrae and have the lowest incidence of HD. In this context, however, the low number of animals of this breed that were included in the evaluation should be noted.
In literature, association between lumbosacral transitional vertebrae and hip dysplasia is discussed controversially. However, this study emphasizes the possibility that � in the long term - misalignment of the hip joints due to lumbosacral malformation will cause secondary alterations of the iliosacral and the hip joints as well as degenerative changes of intervertebral discs and stenosis of the vertebral canal (CES, DLSS).
Regarding the heretability of the disease, there is recent evidence of a high genotypical occurrence of lumbosacral transitional vertebrae in the German Sheperd. Consequently, selective breeding measures would be reasonable.