The association between the occurrence of a lumbosacral transitional vertebra (LTV) and the cauda equina syndrome (CES) in dogs was investigated. In 4000 control dogs without signs of CES, 3.5% had an LTV, while in 92 dogs with CES, 16.3% had an LTV. The lesion causing CES always occurred between the last true lumbar vertebra and the LTV. Dogs with an LTV were eight times more likely to develop CES than dogs without an LTV. German Shepherd dogs were eight times more likely to develop CES compared with other breeds. Male dogs were twice as likely to develop CES than females. Dogs with an LTV develop CES 1-2 years earlier than dogs without an LTV.