Hemivertebra is commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Pug, Bulldog, Boston Terrier), in which it is responsible for the kink in the tail and is usually nonpathogenic apart from a slighter risk of intertrigo.
Typically, hemivertebra involves a single vertebra anywhere along the spine, but some involve numerous contiguous vertebrae causing severe malformations such as scoliosis and kyphosis resulting in lameness and proprioceptive deficits due to spinal cord compression.
The condition is characterised clinically by progressive hind-leg weakness, spinal pain, abnormalities of the nervous system and evidence of muscle atrophy or other abnormalities of conformation.
Diagnosis is usually achieved by lateral and dorsoventral radiographs, CT or MRI imaging. In cases with neurological signs, myelography is warranted as an adjunct diagnostic tool.
Treatment in moderate cases requires hemilaminectomy to relieve spinal cord compression, which in most cases is curative.
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