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Morphology of the transverse ligament of the atlas and the alar ligaments in the silver fox (Vulpes vulpes var)

Marta Kupczynska1, Karolina Barszcz1, Pawel Janczyk2*, Michal Wasowicz1 and Norbert Czubaj1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Morphological Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW, Nowoursynowska 159, Warsaw, 02-776, Poland

2 Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Koserstrasse 20, 14195 Berlin, Germany

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:64  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-64

Published: 4 April 2013



Recent new anatomical and histological features of craniocervical junction in dogs and cats were described providing evidence of differences between the carnivore species. No information on these structures in foxes exists.


Two parts of the alar ligaments were found. A longer one aroused from dens of axis to the internal (medial) surface of the occipital condyles and was called apical part. A shorter part originated from the entire length of the lateral edge of the dens of axis and terminated on the internal wall of the vertebral foramen of atlas and thus was called the lateral part. The transverse ligament of the atlas was widened in the mid region, above the dens of axis, and thickened at enthesis. Periosteal fibrocartilage was detected in the transverse ligament of the atlas at the enthesis, and sesamoid fibrocartilage was present on periphery in the middle of the ligament.


The craniocervical junction in foxes differs in part from other carnivores such as dogs and cats but resembles that of mesaticephalic dogs. The sesamoid and periosteal fibrocartilage supports the transverse ligament of the atlas whereas the alar ligaments have no cartilage.

Atlantoaxial joint; Atlantooccipital joint; Craniocervical junction; Transverse ligament of the atlas; Alar ligament; Silver fox