Objectives: To investigate the possible association between caudal fossa area and cervical vertebral dimensions and the presence of syringomyelia in cavalier King Charles spaniels.
Methods: From magnetic resonance imaging scans of 78 cavalier King Charles spaniels, measurements were made of the widest vertical spinal width at C1/C2, C2, C2/C3 and C3; angulation of the C2/C3 spine; and estimated caudal fossa area. A correlation between these measurements and syringomyelia was sought.
Results: A total of 59 dogs with and 19 without syringomyelia were compared. Older dogs had a significantly higher incidence of syringomyelia. No difference in incidence was noted between genders. There was no significant difference in vertebral canal width at C1/C2 and C2, or angulation of C2/C3 between syringomyelia and non-syringomyelia groups. The width of the canal at C2/C3 and C3 was significantly increased in syringomyelia dogs. There was no significant difference in the caudal fossa area between groups.
Clinical significance: Although syringomyelia was shown to be more prevalent in older dogs, the age beyond which dogs were considered at greater risk was not deducible from the dataset. The association identified between wider spinal canal at C3, and C2/C3 and syringomyelia presence is of questionable clinical significance, as the difference between syringomyelia and non-syringomyelia groups is too small to be measured in a clinical setting.