Fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy (FCE) is common in dogs; however, there is conflicting information in the veterinary literature regarding clinical characteristics and data on recovery in severe cases is sparse. A systematic review of canine FCE was performed to delineate the natural history of this disease. 322 previously reported cases and 71 previously unreported cases were identified for inclusion. Source publications were identified via PubMed central search and by references from review articles. Previously unreported cases were identified via computerised medical records search at two veterinary institutions. FCE was most common in middle-aged large breed dogs (30 per cent); however, the miniature schnauzer was the most frequently reported individual breed and small breeds comprised 24 per cent of all reported cases. The most common neuroanatomical localisation was a T3-L3 myelopathy (33.1 per cent). Prognosis for recovery of ambulation was good to excellent with 85 per cent of cases regaining the ability to walk unassisted, most within 3 weeks. Persistent neurological deficits were common in patients that recovered ambulation (49.1 per cent). When nociception was absent in the affected limbs at initial presentation, rate of recovery was lower (10 per cent); however, this data is likely biased by limited follow-up in more severe cases. Future prospective studies should evaluate prognosis for more severely affected patients.
- fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy
- spinal cord injury
- ischemic myelopathy