Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LTV)

This dog has LTV3, an asymmetric LTV. On its right side the vertebra has a transverse process and thus resembles a lumbar vertebra (blue arrow). On its left the vertebra holds some resemblance to a sacral vertebra (orange arrow).

LTV is a congenital disease. LTV are manifested as one or at times several vertebrae with an abnormal identity between the last normal lumbar and the first normal sacral vertebra.

In Finland the disease is graded from 0 to 4. The affected vertebrae may be symmetrically or asymmetrically transformed and in extreme cases the dog may have an abnormal number of lumbar vertebrae (i.e. six or eight instead of the normal seven).

LTV are a frequent cause for disabling diseases such as cauda equine syndrome.

The genetic background of LTV has not been studied in to any greater extent.

In our study we aim to identify the risk loci and gene variant(s) which contribute to LTV.

Study breeds:

At the moment we are concentrating our study in German shepherds, but we also gladly consider affected dogs from other breeds.

Dogs eligible for study:

We are looking for participants which are diagnosed with LTV (grades 1 to 4).

In some cases we also accept dogs with an unofficial diagnose of LTV. In these cases always contact the researcher before participation.

We also need dogs which are officially diagnosed by the Finnish Kennel Club Radiologist to have a normal vertebral column (LTV0).

Copies of diagnoses and other information needed:

We hope to see vertebral column and hip radiographs from all the animals participating to this study.

If the dog is participating to this study with an unofficial diagnose, both hip and vertebral column (covering lumbar and sacral vertebrae) radiographs are required. We also hope to receive a copy of the veterinarian’s statement of the vertebral column, if it is available.

We hope that while filling the blood sample form; please include all known skeletal defects.


Further information on sending blood samples.

A sample form to be sent along with the blood samples.

An electronic form for details and updates of dog's health and owner's contact information.

Contact person / Contact persons:

Docent Marjo Hytönen, PhD
marjo.hytonen (at)