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Outcome of medical and surgical treatment in dogs with cervical spondylomyelopathy: 104 cases (1988–2004)

Ronaldo C. da Costa DMV, PhD, DACVIM1, Joane M. Parent DMV, MVSc, DACVIM2, David L. Holmberg DVM, MVSc, DACVS3, Diana Sinclair DVM4, and Gabrielle Monteith BS5
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, 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.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

Abstract

Objective—To compare outcomes and survival times for dogs with cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM; wobbler syndrome) treated medically or surgically.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—104 dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs were included if the diagnosis of CSM had been made on the basis of results of diagnostic imaging and follow-up information (minimum, 6 months) was available. Ordinal logistic regression was used to compare outcomes and the product-limit method was used to compare survival times between dogs treated surgically and dogs treated medically.

Results—37 dogs were treated surgically, and 67 were treated medically. Owners reported that 30 (81%) dogs treated surgically were improved, 1 (3%) was unchanged, and 6 (16%) were worse and that 36 (54%) dogs treated medically were improved, 18 (27%) were unchanged, and 13 (19%) were worse. Outcome was not significantly different between groups. Information on survival time was available for 33 dogs treated surgically and 43 dogs treated medically. Forty of the 76 (53%) dogs were euthanized because of CSM. Median and mean survival times were 36 and 48 months, respectively, for dogs treated medically and 36 and 46.5 months, respectively, for dogs treated surgically. Survival times did not differ significantly between groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In the present study, neither outcome nor survival time was significantly different between dogs with CSM treated medically and dogs treated surgically, suggesting that medical treatment is a viable and valuable option for management of dogs with CSM.

Abstract

Objective—To compare outcomes and survival times for dogs with cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM; wobbler syndrome) treated medically or surgically.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—104 dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs were included if the diagnosis of CSM had been made on the basis of results of diagnostic imaging and follow-up information (minimum, 6 months) was available. Ordinal logistic regression was used to compare outcomes and the product-limit method was used to compare survival times between dogs treated surgically and dogs treated medically.

Results—37 dogs were treated surgically, and 67 were treated medically. Owners reported that 30 (81%) dogs treated surgically were improved, 1 (3%) was unchanged, and 6 (16%) were worse and that 36 (54%) dogs treated medically were improved, 18 (27%) were unchanged, and 13 (19%) were worse. Outcome was not significantly different between groups. Information on survival time was available for 33 dogs treated surgically and 43 dogs treated medically. Forty of the 76 (53%) dogs were euthanized because of CSM. Median and mean survival times were 36 and 48 months, respectively, for dogs treated medically and 36 and 46.5 months, respectively, for dogs treated surgically. Survival times did not differ significantly between groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In the present study, neither outcome nor survival time was significantly different between dogs with CSM treated medically and dogs treated surgically, suggesting that medical treatment is a viable and valuable option for management of dogs with CSM.

Contributor Notes

Dr. da Costa's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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

Supported by the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.

Dr. da Costa was sponsored by the CNPq, National Scientific Research Council of Brazil.

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

Address correspondence to Dr. da Costa.