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Abstract

Objective—To compare morphologic and morphometric features of the cervical vertebral column and spinal cord of Doberman Pinschers with and without clinical signs of cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM; wobbler syndrome) detected via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Animals—16 clinically normal and 16 CSM-affected Doberman Pinschers.

Procedures—For each dog, MRI of the cervical vertebral column (in neutral and traction positions) was performed. Morphologically, MRI abnormalities were classified according to a spinal cord compression scale. Foraminal stenosis and intervertebral disk degeneration and protrusion were also recorded. Morphometric measurements of the vertebral canal and spinal cord were obtained in sagittal and transverse MRI planes.

Results—4 of 16 clinically normal and 15 of 16 CSM-affected dogs had spinal cord compression. Twelve clinically normal and all CSM-affected dogs had disk degeneration. Foraminal stenosis was detected in 11 clinically normal and 14 CSM-affected dogs. Vertebral canal and spinal cord areas were consistently smaller in CSM-affected dogs, compared with clinically normal dogs. In neutral and traction positions, the intervertebral disks of CSM-affected dogs were wider than those of clinically normal dogs but the amount of disk distraction was similar between groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The incidence of intervertebral disk degeneration and foraminal stenosis in clinically normal Doberman Pinschers was high; cervical spinal cord compression may be present without concurrent clinical signs. A combination of static factors (ie, a relatively stenotic vertebral canal and wider intervertebral disks) distinguished CSM-affected dogs from clinically normal dogs and appears to be a key feature in the pathogenesis of CSM.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To establish the reference ranges for motor evoked potential (MEP) latency and amplitude in clinically normal Doberman Pinschers, compare the MEPs of Doberman Pinschers with and without clinical signs of cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM; wobbler syndrome), and determine whether MEP data correlate with neurologic or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings.

Animals—16 clinically normal and 16 CSM-affected Doberman Pinschers.

Procedures—Dogs were classified according to their neurologic deficits. After sedation with acepromazine and hydromorphone, transcranial magnetic MEPs were assessed in each dog; latencies and amplitudes were recorded from the extensor carpi radialis and cranial tibial muscles. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed to evaluate the presence and severity of spinal cord compression.

Results—Significant differences in cranial tibial muscle MEP latencies and amplitudes were detected between clinically normal and CSM-affected dogs. No differences in the extensor carpi radialis MEP were detected between groups. There was a significant correlation (r = 0.776) between the cranial tibial muscle MEP latencies and neurologic findings. Significant correlations were also found between MRI findings and the cranial tibial muscle MEP latencies (r = 0.757) and amplitudes (r = −0.453).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results provided a reference range for MEPs in clinically normal Doberman Pinschers and indicated that cranial tibial muscle MEP latencies correlated well with both MRI and neurologic findings. Because of the high correlation between cranial tibial muscle MEP data and neurologic and MRI findings, MEP assessment could be considered as a screening tool in the management of dogs with spinal cord disease.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate use of transcranial magnetic motor evoked potentials for assessment of the functional integrity of the cervical spinal cord in largebreed dogs with cervical spinal cord disease.

Design—Randomized, controlled, masked study.

Animals—10 healthy large-breed control dogs and 25 large-breed dogs with cervical spinal cord diseases.

Procedure—Affected dogs were allocated to 3 groups on the basis of neurologic status: signs of neck pain alone, ambulatory with ataxia in all limbs, or nonambulatory. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was performed on each dog with the same standard technique. Motor evoked potentials (MEP) were recorded from electrodes inserted in the tibialis cranialis muscle. Following the procedure, each dog was anesthetized and cervical radiography, CSF analysis, and cervical myelography were performed. The MEP latencies and amplitudes were correlated with neurologic status of the dogs after correction for neuronal path length.

Results—Mean MEP latencies and amplitudes were significantly different between control dogs and dogs in each of the 3 neurologic categories, but were not significantly different among dogs in the 3 neurologic categories. A linear association was evident between MEP latencies and amplitudes and severity of neurologic deficits; the more severe the neurologic deficits, the more prolonged the latencies and the more decreased the amplitudes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Transcranial magnetic MEP are useful to assess severity of cervical spinal cord disease in large-breed dogs. Impairment of the functional integrity of the cervical spinal cord was found even in dogs with neck pain alone. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:60–64)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association