Canine-Orthopédique : A case of spondylitis in a young dog

Bernese mountain dog 6-month-old presented for lethargy of acute onset. At clinical examination the dog presents a febrile state and pain on palpation of the back (lumbar spine pressure). The patient is rather small for his age and breed.
Radiographic examination of lumbar spine in lateral projection.
The contours of the caudal growth plate of L5 vertebral body are fuzzy and poorly defined. The vertebral body itself appears more radiolucent than others. The adjacent metaphysis is sclerotic and there is ventral spondylosis deformans to the intervertebral space L5 - L6. No other abnormality was detected.
This is an inflammation of the spinal growth plate, and therefore a L5 vertebral physitis. Physites are rare and mainly affect young large breed dogs. In the literature, this pathology has been occasionally associated with the presence of porto-systemic shunt. The link has not been established, and the physiopathology of the physites remains unknown. This patient had a portosystemic shunt!