To describe the neurologic signs and MRI findings for German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) with cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM).
10 GSDs with confirmed CSM.
Medical records from January 2006 through July 2018 were reviewed to identify dogs with CSM. For each CSM-affected dog, information regarding age, duration of clinical signs, presence of neurologic signs, and treatments administered were obtained; the main site and cause of spinal cord compression and other vertebral and spinal cord changes were identified on MRI images.
Data for 9 male and 1 female (mean age, 6.2 years) GSDs with CSM were assessed. Dogs were classified as having chronic (n = 9) or acute (1) CSM. Nine dogs had ataxia; 1 dog had only signs of cervical hyperesthesia. Neurologic examination findings localized the lesion to the cervical portion of the vertebral column in each dog. The main spinal cord compression site was at the C6-7 (n = 5), C5-6 (4), or C4-5 (1) intervertebral spaces; osseous proliferation of the articular processes was the sole or a contributory cause of these compressions for 6 of the 10 dogs. Eight dogs also had dorsal compression of the spinal cord as the result of ligamenta flava hypertrophy.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
The 10 GSDs of the present retrospective case series had CSM that was often characterized by osseous changes and a ligamentous component and were older than dogs of other breeds (eg, Great Dane and Mastiff) with osseous-associated CSM described in previous reports. Cervical spondylomyelopathy should be a differential diagnosis for GSDs with ataxia, paresis, or signs of cervical hyperesthesia.
OBJECTIVE To compare the percentage of the C3-C7 vertebral canal occupied by the spinal cord in small-breed dogs with that in Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes with and without cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM).
ANIMALS 30 small-breed dogs (body weight, < 15 kg), 15 clinically normal Doberman Pinschers, 15 Doberman Pinschers with CSM, 15 clinically normal Great Danes, and 15 Great Danes with CSM.
PROCEDURES In a retrospective study, sagittal and transverse T2-weighted MRI images of the cervical (C3 to C7) vertebral column obtained from dogs that met study criteria and were free of extensive abnormalities that could affect the spinal cord diameter between January 2005 and February 2015 were reviewed. The area and height of the vertebral column and spinal cord were measured at the cranial and caudal aspect of each vertebra from C3 to C7, and the percentage of the vertebral canal occupied by the spinal cord at each location was calculated and compared among groups of dogs.
RESULTS Mean percentage of the vertebral canal occupied by the spinal cord was greatest for small-breed dogs and lowest for Great Danes, but did not differ between Doberman Pinschers and small-breed dogs at approximately half of the locations evaluated or between Doberman Pinschers with and without CSM or between Great Danes with and without CSM.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that the percentage of the vertebral canal occupied by the spinal cord, although expected to increase with vertebral canal stenosis, may not have a primary role in the pathogenesis of CSM.