Objective: To identify radiographic abnormalities associated with degenerative lumbosacral stenosis (DLSS) in German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) and determine whether specific radiographic abnormalities could be used to identify dogs at risk of developing DLSS.
Design: Cohort study.
Animals: 33 GSDs working as police dogs.
Procedures: Results of physical, neurologic, and orthopedic examinations were used to identify dogs with DLSS. Survey radiography of the lumbosacral junction was performed, and radiographs were compared with radiographs obtained 3 years earlier.
Results: DLSS was diagnosed in 15 of the 33 (45%) dogs. Thirteen of the 15 dogs with DLSS and 14 of the 18 dogs without DLSS had radiographic abnormalities of the lumbosacral junction. Twenty-two (67%) dogs were able to perform unrestricted duties, including 3 dogs with suspected DLSS. Six (18%) dogs had been excluded from active duty during the period of surveillance because of DLSS. Significant progression in specific clinical and radiographic signs was detected, but multiple logistic regression analysis did not identify any radiographic signs that could be used to predict the development of DLSS.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results suggested that survey radiography cannot be used to predict development of DLSS in working GSDs.