Edinburgh Imaging

MSc projects 1920 001

Relationship between radiographic subcutaneous fat layer & spondylosis prevalence in dogs.


Spondylosis deformans (spondylosis) is a degenerative process identified through evidence of new bone formation peripheral to the vertebral end plate [1][2][3]. A correlation between obesity & incidence of lumbar spinal stenosis has been identified in humans [4]. There is currently an absence of literature which investigates the correlation between canine spondylosis & body weight. The findings of this study will enable veterinarians to utilise evidence-based recommendations & identify factors which influence development of spondylosis.

Radiographs, which included the spine, were anonymised by an independent third party. The radiographs were read & the subcutaneous fat thickness ratio (T8 ratio), accommodating for variation in patient size, was established & grouped as 1.5 morbidly obese. Spondylosis identified was graded between 0-3.

67 cases met the criteria for inclusion, though no statistical analysis was performed on the cervical data set as n=2. A one-way ANOVA was conducted on data from the thoracic & lumbar vertebrae where p=0.00119 (p<0.05) & p=0.0475 (p<0.05) respectively. The post-hoc Tukey table of thoracic data identified significant difference between the obese & ideal groups only p=0.0008044 (p<0.05). The Tukey table of lumbar data identified that none of the groups differed significantly.

Linear regression analysis identified breed type as a confounding factor at the lumbar vertebrae p=0.0005479 (p<0.05) & weight as a confounding factor at the thoracic & lumbar vertebrae, where p=0.02365 (p<0.05) & p=0.03088 (p<0.05) respectively.

The findings from this study suggest: an increase in subcutaneous fat thickness, if considered obese, correlates to an increase in incidence of thoracic spondylosis. Future research is required to establish whether there is also a correlation at the lumbar spine.

Project type:
  • Analysis of existing data
Imaging keywords:
Application / disease keywords:
  • Spondylosis deformans
  • Arthritis
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Canine spondylosis
  • Thoracic spondylosis
  • 19-20