Retrospective analysis of spinal arachnoid cysts in 14 dogs

J Vet Intern Med. Nov-Dec 2002;16(6):690-6. doi: 10.1892/0891-6640(2002)016<0690:raosac>;2.


Spinal cord dysfunction secondary to spinal arachnoid cysts (SACs) has been reported previously in dogs. This retrospective study reviews the clinical signs, radiographic findings, and outcome after surgical resection of SACs in 14 dogs. Plain vertebral column radiographs and myelography were done in all dogs. Computed tomography (CT) was done in 7 dogs and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in 3 dogs. Affected dogs were between 1 and 12 years of age, and 8 of 14 were Rottweilers. Abnormalities detected on neurological examination depended on the location of the SAC. Five dogs had bilobed or multiple SACs. SACs were located in the cervical vertebral column in 11 dogs and in the thoracic vertebral column in 4 dogs. All dogs had dorsally or dorsolaterally located SACs. Two dogs also had additional ventrally located SACs. Spinal cord compression secondary to intervertebral disc extrusion or protrusion was demonstrated at the site of the SACs in 2 dogs. Surgical resection of the SACs was completed in all dogs. Eleven dogs were available for follow-up. Five weeks postoperatively, 7 dogs improved in neurological function, with some residual ataxia and paresis in 6 of these dogs. Neurological function had deteriorated in 4 dogs. It was concluded from this study that Rottweilers have a higher incidence of SACs than other breeds of dog. Furthermore, bilobed or multiple SACs can occur commonly, and myelography effectively localized SACs in dogs. Surgical resection of SACs resulted in improvement in neurological function in the majority of treated dogs.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachnoid Cysts / epidemiology
  • Arachnoid Cysts / pathology
  • Arachnoid Cysts / surgery
  • Arachnoid Cysts / veterinary*
  • Ataxia / etiology
  • Ataxia / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases / pathology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Paresis / etiology
  • Paresis / veterinary
  • Pedigree
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / epidemiology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / surgery
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / veterinary*
  • Treatment Outcome