Sacrocaudal dysgenesis

From Dog

Sacrocaudal dysgenesis is a rare neurological disease of dogs characterized by malformation of the caudal lumbar, sacral and caudal coccygeal vertebrae[1].

Sacrococcygeal dysgenesis may be seen sporadically in the English Bulldog in particular[2].

The disorder is associated with varying degrees of agenesis/aplasia of coccygeal vertebrae and occasional formation of spina bifida.

Diagnosis is usually made on clinical presentation and radiographic findings.

A differential diagnosis would include dermoid sinus.

Pathologically, subcutaneous cyst formation, meningocele, meningomyelocele, shortening of the spinal cord and absence of cauda equina, and myelodysplasia of the caudal lumbar, sacral, and caudal spinal cord segments including central canal defects, syringomyelia, myeloschisis (cleft within spinal cord) and abnormal gray matter differentiation have been described in affected animals[3]. Myelography or MRI may outline the meningocele or meningomyelocele, if present.

There is no treatment for this condition and in severe cases, the prognosis is guarded and may require euthanasia.

Mildly affected animals may attain longevity if fecal and urinary incontinence are managed.


  1. Vite, Ch (2004) Developmental disorders. In: Braund's Clinical Neurology in Small Animals: Localization, Diagnosis and Treatment. IVIS, Ithaca, New York, USA
  2. Wilson JW, Kurtz HJ, Leipold HW, et al (1979) Spina bifida in the dog. Vet Pathol 16:165-179
  3. Summers B, Cummings J, de Lahunta A. (1995) Veterinary Neuropathology. St Louis: Mosby, pp:68-94