Veterinary Record 171:531-537 doi:10.1136/vr.e7952
  • Review
  • Research

Current insights and controversies in the pathogenesis and diagnosis of disc-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy in dogs

  1. L. M. L. Van Ham, DVM, PhD, DipECVN3
  1. 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College,Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK
  2. 2College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
  3. 3Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisbrylaan, 133, B-9820, Merelbeke, Belgium
  1. E-mail for correspondence: sdedecker{at}


Disc-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy (DA-CSM) is the most common cause of cervical spondylomyelopathy in dogs. In this condition, progressive caudal cervical spinal cord compression is typically caused by protrusion of one or more intervertebral discs. This disc-associated compression is sometimes seen in combination with mild vertebral abnormalities and dorsal compression resulting from ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. The intervertebral disc space between the sixth (C6) and seventh (C7) cervical vertebrae is most commonly affected. Although several large breed dogs can be affected, the adult to older dobermann is overrepresented. Clinical signs vary from cervical hyperaesthesia to tetraplegia. Dogs can present with a chronic progressive or an acute onset of clinical signs. Many aspects of this multifactorial neurological syndrome are not completely understood and are the subject of controversy and debate. Although several factors have been proposed, the underlying pathology and aetiology remain unknown. Recently, new insights have been gained in the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of this challenging neurological syndrome. This review outlines current controversies and new developments concerning the pathogenesis and diagnosis of DA-CSM.

Sign up for job alerts

Vet Record Careers features a comprehensive database of vet jobs.
Browse for your next job, or set personalised job alerts so you hear about vacancies as soon as they go online.
Find out more at Vet Record Careers

Free Sample Issue

This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of the Veterinary Record.
View free sample issue >>

Navigate This Article