Syringomyelia in an Adult American Paint Horse

Vet Sci. 2018 Apr 5;5(2):39. doi: 10.3390/vetsci5020039.


Syringomyelia is a form of myelodysplasia defined by the formation of one or more fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord that do not communicate with the central canal. The defect may be congenital or acquired. Clinical signs correlate to the segment of spinal cord affected and include pain, paresis, proprioceptive deficits, alterations in sensation, scoliosis, and autonomic dysfunction. This report describes the clinical and pathologic changes in a case of acquired syringomyelia in a 10-year-old American Paint Horse mare. The horse had a six-week history of progressive proprioceptive deficits in all four limbs, bilateral pelvic limb ataxia, and muscle fasciculations that were unresponsive to treatment with stall rest, phenylbutazone, and dexamethasone. Syringomyelia was diagnosed postmortem within cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spinal cord segments. Acquired syringomyelia should be considered among differential diagnoses in adult horses displaying progressive neurologic deficits.

Keywords: American Paint Horse; myelodysplasia; neurologic deficits; spinal cord; syringomyelia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports