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One-year clinical and magnetic resonance imaging follow-up of Doberman Pinschers with cervical spondylomyelopathy treated medically or surgically

Ronaldo C. da Costa DMV, PhD, DACVIM1 and Joane M. Parent DMV, MVetSc, DACVIM2
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  • 1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate progression of clinical signs and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in dogs with cervical spondylomyelopathy (wobbler syndrome) treated medically or surgically.

Design—Prospective cohort study.

Animals—12 Doberman Pinschers.

Procedures—Neurologic examinations and MRI were performed before medical (n = 9) or surgical treatment (ventral slot, 3) and a minimum of 12 months later.

Results—Mean follow-up time was 14.5 months. Clinically, 2 dogs improved after surgical treatment and 5 improved after medical treatment. Magnetic resonance imaging of surgically treated dogs revealed adequate spinal cord decompression. Spinal cord signal changes were seen in 2 dogs before surgery, both of which had new signal changes at the same and adjacent sites during follow-up examination. One dog treated surgically developed 3 new areas of spinal cord compression. In the medically treated dogs, the severity of spinal cord compression at the time of follow-up examination was unchanged in 4 dogs, worse in 2 dogs, and improved in 3 dogs, but spinal cord atrophy was observed on transverse images. Four medically treated dogs had changes in spinal cord signal initially, but none developed new signal changes or compressions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Medical and surgical treatment improved or stabilized the clinical condition of most dogs. Surgical treatment appeared to hasten the development of additional areas of spinal cord compression and lesions in dogs with preoperative cord changes; however, the clinical importance of these changes was not determined. The progression of pathologic MRI abnormalities was notably less in medically treated dogs, compared with surgically treated dogs.

Contributor Notes

Dr. da Costa's present address is Universidade Federal do Paraná, Campus Palotina, Palotina, Paraná 85950-000, Brazil.

Dr. Parent's present address is Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médicine Vétérinarie, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 2M2, Canada.

Presented as an abstract at the 24th American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Louisville, Ky, June 2006.

Supported by the Pet Trust Fund of the Ontario Veterinary College. Dr. da Costa was sponsored by the National Scientific Research Council of Brazil.

Address correspondence to Dr. da Costa.