Effect of hind limb position on the craniocaudal length of the lumbosacral space in anesthetized dogs



      To investigate whether rostral extension of the hind limbs increases the cranio-caudal dorsal interlaminar distance between the seventh lumbar vertebra and the sacral bone (LS distance) in sternally recumbent anesthetized dogs.

      Study design

      Prospective clinical study.


      Eighteen dogs (eight neutered males, three intact males, six spayed females, one intact female) of various breeds, weighing 4–34 kg and ranging in age from 1 to 13 years.


      Each dog was grouped by size: small (≤10 kg), medium (15–20 kg) or large (≥25 kg). Each dog was anesthetized and positioned in sternal recumbency. Computed tomography (CT) of the lumbosacral area was performed with the hind limbs resting on the stifle and the feet extended posteriorly, and then with the hind limbs extended rostrally. LS distance, craniocaudal dorsal interlaminar distance between sixth and seventh lumbar vertebra (L6–L7 distance), length of L7 vertebral body and lumbosacral angle (LS angle) were measured on a reconstructed mid-sagittal CT image from the two hind limb positions. The measurements from the two hind limb positions for the whole dog population and by size were compared using Student's T tests. Diagnostic interpretation of the CT images was performed.


      The length of L7 was taken as the reference value as it was not affected by hind limb position. LS distance, L6–L7 distance and LS angle were significantly higher when the hind limbs were extended rostrally in all three size groups. The CT images of ten dogs showed clinically undetected osteoarthrosis of the ileo- and lumbosacral area.
      Conclusions and clinical relevance  Rostral extension of the hind limbs significantly increases LS and L6–L7 distance and LS angle even in dogs with clinically undetected osteoarthrosis of the ileo- and lumbosacral area, and may enhance the ease of lumbosacral epidural injection in sternally recumbent anesthetized dogs.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment


      Subscribe to Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Bone JK
        • Peck JG
        Epidural anesthesia in dogs.
        J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1956; 128: 236-238
        • Boon JM
        • Abrahams PH
        • Meiring JH
        • et al.
        Lumbar puncture: anatomical review of a clinical skill.
        Clin Anat. 2004; 17: 544-553
        • Bradley RL
        • Withrow SJ
        • Heath RB
        • et al.
        Epidural anesthesia in the dog.
        Vet Surg. 1980; 9: 153-156
        • Braund KG
        • Taylor TKF
        • Ghosh P
        • et al.
        Spinal mobility in the dog. A study in chondrodystrophoid and non-chondrodystrophoid animals.
        Res Vet Sci. 1977; 22: 78-82
        • Brook GB
        Spinal (epidural) anaesthesia in the domestic animals – Epidural anaesthesia in the dog.
        Vet Rec. 1935; 15: 659-667
        • Campoy L
        Epidural and spinal anaesthesia in the dog.
        In Pract. 2004; 26: 262-269
        • Feeney DA
        • Wise M
        Epidurography in the normal dog: technique and radiographic findings.
        Vet Radiol. 1981; 22: 35-39
        • Frank ER
        Regional anesthesia in the dog and cat.
        J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1927; 25: 336-340
        • Gross ME
        Recent developments in epidural anesthesia/analgesia for dogs and cats.
        Proc Annu Meet Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 1993; 60: 465-467
        • Hall LW
        • Clarke KW
        • Trim CM
        Veterinary Anaesthesia. 10th edn. Saunders, London, UK2001
        • Halley LE
        Epidural analgesia in the dog.
        Iowa State Univ Vet. 1983; 45: 45-48
        • Hansen BD
        Epidural catheter analgesia in dogs and cats: technique and review of 182 cases (1991–1999).
        J Vet Emerg Crit Care. 2001; 11: 95-103
        • Heath RB
        The practicality of lumbosacral epidural analgesia.
        Semin Vet Med Surg (Small Anim). 1986; 1: 245-248
        • Iff I
        • Larenza P
        • Moens Y
        The extradural pressure profile in goats following extradural injection.
        Vet Anaesth Analg. 2009; 36: 180-185
        • Iseri T
        • Yamada K
        • Ueno H
        Lumbosacral myelography in dogs – a safer alternative.
        J Vet Med Sci. 2004; 66: 71-72
        • Jones RS
        Epidural analgesia in the dog and cat.
        Vet J. 2001; 161: 123-131
        • Klide AM
        • Soma LR
        Epidural analgesia in the dog and cat.
        J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1968; 153: 165-173
        • Lorinson D
        • Kogler J
        • Grösslinger K
        Perkutane Epiduroscopie beim Hund: anatomische und technische Grundlagen.
        Wien Tierärtz Monatsschr. 2006; 93: 278-282
        • Mattoon JS
        • Koblik PD
        Quantitative survey radiographic evaluation of the lumbosacral spine of normal dogs and dogs with degenerative lumbosacral stenosis.
        Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 1993; 34: 194-206
        • Puggioni A
        • Arnett R
        • Clegg T
        • et al.
        Influence of patient positioning on the L5-L6 mid-laminar distance.
        Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2006; 47: 449-452
        • Skarda RT
        Local and regional anesthetic and analgesic techniques: dogs.
        in: Thurmon JC William JT Benson GJ Lumb and Jones’ Veterinary Anesthesia. 3rd edn. The Williams & Wilkins Co, Baltimore, USA1996: 426-447
        • Valverde A
        Epidural analgesia and anesthesia in dogs and cats.
        Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2008; 38: 1205-1230