Objective—To compare signalment of horses with cervical vertebral malformation-malarticulation (CVM) with that of control horses and to describe results of clinical examination, diagnostic imaging and necropsy findings, and reported outcome in horses with CVM.
Design—Retrospective case-control study.
Animals—270 horses with CVM and 608 control horses admitted to 6 veterinary hospitals from 1992 through 2007.
Procedures—Medical records of participating hospitals were reviewed to identify horses with CVM (ie, case horses) and contemporaneous control (non-CVM-affected) horses that were admitted for treatment. Signalment was compared between case horses and control horses. Results of clinical examination, laboratory and diagnostic imaging findings, necropsy results, and outcome were assessed for horses with CVM.
Results—Case horses were younger (median age, 2 years) than were control horses (median age, 7 years). Thoroughbreds, warmbloods, and Tennessee Walking Horses were overrepresented in the CVM group. Gait asymmetry and cervical hyperesthesia were frequently detected in horses with CVM. Vertebral canal stenosis and articular process osteophytosis were commonly observed at necropsy; agreement between the results of radiographic or myelographic analysis and detection of lesions at necropsy was 65% to 71% and 67% to 78%, respectively. Of 263 horses with CVM for which outcome was recorded, 1 died and 172 (65.4%) were euthanatized.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Odds of a diagnosis of CVM were greater in young horses and horses of specific breeds. Detection of gait asymmetry and cervical hyperesthesia were frequently reported in association with CVM. Accurate diagnosis of lesions associated with CVM by use of radiography and myelography can be challenging. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2010;237:812-822)