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Dorsolateral spinal cord compression at the C2-C3 junction in two Cavalier King Charles spaniels
  1. K. P. Harris, BVetMed, MRCVS1,
  2. T. C. Saveraid, DVM, DACVR2 and
  3. S. Rodenas, DVM, DipECVN, MRCVS1
  1. Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists, 6 Forest Corner Farm, Hangersley, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 3JW, UK
  2. VetRadiologist, 1776 Wellesley Avenue, St Paul, MN 55105, USA
  1. E-mail for correspondence karen.harris{at}scvetspecialists.co.uk

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DUE to the high incidence of Chiari-like malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM) in Cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCS) (Rusbridge 2005), the presentation of this breed with a history of apparent neck pain often prompts an early suspicion for CM-SM. Conversely, CM-SM findings upon MRI have been reported in many asymptomatic CKCS (Couturier and others 2008) and thus other differentials for neck pain such as vertebral trauma, meningioencephalomyelitis or myelocompression must be exhaustively excluded.

Cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM), also referred to as cervical vertebral malformation-malarticulation syndrome, cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy and wobbler syndrome among other terms, is a common multifactorial neurological disorder affecting mainly large/giant breed dogs (Eagleson and others 2009, da Costa 2010). Cases of CSM have been broadly classified by their mechanism of spinal cord and/or nerve root compression as either disc-associated (DA-CSM) or osseous-associated (OA-CSM) (da Costa 2010).

This short communication describes dorsolateral compressive lesions of the spinal cord at the C2-C3 junction, similar to those described in giant breed dogs with OA-CSM, in two CKCS with concurrent CM, being evaluated with MRI for neck pain. To the author's knowledge, this is the first report of such MRI findings in this breed.

In case 1, a 13.9 kg two-year-old male neutered CKCS presented with a three-month history of intermittent periods of apparent discomfort manifested as very abrupt rising from rest. Two weeks earlier, the owner had observed an isolated episode of ataxia during which the dog fell to the left, had a left-sided head tilt and facial twitching. The dog remained responsive to the owner throughout and returned to normal within 30 minutes. The owner also reported that the dog frequently scratched at one ear (the side unknown). Neurological and otoscopic examination revealed no abnormalities. Moderate to severe hyperaesthesia was evident upon manipulation of the cervical spine. …

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