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To describe the use of a customized 3–D-printed titanium prosthesis as adjunctive treatment for foramen magnum decompression (FMD) in dogs with Chiari-like malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM).


8 dogs with clinical signs and MRI findings of CM-SM.


3-D reconstruction of CT images of the head was used to simulate an occipital craniectomy and design the prosthesis. FMD was performed, and the prosthesis was implanted. Follow-up was performed 1, 6, and 12 months later, and clinical status was scored. Repeated MRI images were compared to identify changes involving the neural structures, particularly the syrinx.


All prostheses were easily positioned based on the preoperative 3-D models, with no complications. At 12 months after surgery, 3 dogs were free of previous medications, 4 were still receiving steroid medications but at lower doses, and 1 was occasionally receiving acupuncture. MRI of 5 dogs 6 to 20 months after surgery revealed resolution of SM (n = 1), reduced size of SM (3), or worse SM (1). All dogs showed an increase in size of the caudal cranial fossa. Dogs with a longer presurgical duration of the clinical signs and wider syrinx generally had worse outcomes than other dogs.


Findings suggested that use of customized 3–D-printed titanium prosthesis and associated FMD can represent an adjunctive option to medically treated dogs with CM-SM. Although the small number of cases precludes definitive conclusions, early surgical treatment, particularly in dogs with a small syrinx, could ensure better long-term outcomes, as previously suggested.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



A 9-year-old 37-kg sexually intact male snow leopard (Panthera uncia) with no history of lameness but radiographic evidence of right femoral subluxation and flattening of both femoral heads, 2 juvenile (< 1 year old) 25-kg sexually intact male cheetahs (Acinoynx jubatus) with unilateral hind limb lameness resulting from trauma, and an 11-year-old 110-kg sexually intact female Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) with a 2-year history of left hip joint osteoarthritis were examined.


No clinically relevant clinical findings other than hip joint problems were identified. All 4 felids underwent staged bilateral (snow leopard) or unilateral (cheetahs and tiger [Panthera tigris]) total hip arthroplasty (THA).


In the snow leopard, both femoral THA components were found to be luxated 1 year after surgery. Treatment consisted of autogenous corticocancellous rib graft augmentation of the dorsal acetabular rims and synthetic suture capsulorrhaphies. The snow leopard lived for an additional 4 years with no additional THA-related complications. In the other 3 animals, catastrophic complications (luxation in the cheetahs and femoral fracture in the tiger) occurred shortly after THA. The THA implants were removed, and excision arthroplasty was performed. Long-term outcomes were good in all 3.


Findings underscore the challenges associated with THA in large nondomestic felids. Given the high risk for early catastrophic failure as a result of luxation or fracture, plans must be made and resources must be available in case revision surgery or implant removal with excision arthroplasty becomes necessary.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research