A retrospective study was initiated to investigate the incidence, radiographic appearance and progression of vertebral physitis, a condition the authors propose as a separate radiographic diagnosis from discospondylitis. From 30 dogs with an initial radiographic diagnosis of discospondylitis, six dogs (five less than two years old) had radiographic signs believed to represent vertebral physitis. Bone lysis initially confined to the caudal physeal zone of affected vertebrae and sparing the vertebral endplates characterized the vertebral physitis lesions. Subsequent collapse of the caudoventral vertebral body and reactive spondylosis arising only from the caudal vertebral margins followed as the lesions progressed. By contrast, discospondylitis lesions originated as symmetric lysis of the vertebral endplates with reactive sclerosis in both vertebral bodies, and subsequent symmetric spondylosis. As a result of the differing radiographic patterns demonstrated by the physitis and discospondylitis lesions the author's also propose an alternative pathogenesis from that which is generally accepted for discospondylitis.
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