Neurology

Research Abstract

N15 - Morphometric Analysis of Spinal Cord Termination in Cavalier King Charles spaniels

Thursday, June 14
2:45 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: WSCC 606/607

Cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCS) suffer from Chiari-like malformation (CM), a skull malformation that causes crowding of the caudal fossa, and syringomyelia (SM). Affected dogs show signs of pain and frequently show lumbosacral pain. Tethered cauda equina has been reported in people with CM but currently there is no morphometric data on the caudal aspect of the vertebral column and spinal cord in CKCS. The purpose of this study was to compare the location of the conus medullaris in CKCS with other size-matched breeds. We hypothesized that the spinal cord terminates more caudally in CKCS. 


A retrospective study was conducted on 90 dogs with thoracolumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Dog breeds were grouped as CKCS (n=48), and brachycephalic (n=21) and non-brachycephalic (n=20) size-matched controls. MRI identifiers were removed to blind the observer. Termination of the spinal cord was determined from T2-weighted sagittal and axial images as the 6th (L6), or 7th lumbar vertebra (L7), or sacrum. Breed was revealed after Chi-squared analyses were performed. 


Among 48 CKCS, the spinal cord terminated at L6 in 3, L7 in 23, and sacrum in 22 dogs compared with 8 at L6, 27 at L7 and 5 at sacrum in 41 controls. Spinal cord termination was significantly more caudal in CKCS as compared to brachycephalic (P = 0.015) and non-brachycephalic breeds (P = 0.005).  There was no difference between size-matched controls (P = 0.157). There is a need to investigate whether tethering of the cauda equina contributes to signs of pain in CKCS. 

Courtney R. Sparks

DVM/PhD Dual Degree Student
NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine

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N15 - Morphometric Analysis of Spinal Cord Termination in Cavalier King Charles spaniels

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