Cervical spondylomyelopathy in Great Danes: a magnetic resonance imaging morphometric study

Martin-Vaquero P, da Costa RC, Lima CG.

Vet J 2014;201:64-71.

Morphometric investigations comparing normal and affected animals increase our understanding of spinal diseases in dogs. The aim of this study was to generate morphometric data for osseous-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM) in Great Danes (GDs). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) morphometric features of the cervical vertebral column of GDs with and without clinical signs of CSM were characterized and compared. Thirty client-owned GDs were prospectively enrolled, including 15 clinically normal and 15 CSM-affected GDs. All dogs underwent MRI of the cervical to thoracic vertebral column (C2-C3 through T1-T2). Areas of the cranial and caudal articular processes, and the height, width and areas of the vertebral canal and spinal cord were determined. Middle foraminal heights were measured. Intervertebral disc width was measured before and after traction. Intraobserver and interobserver agreement were calculated. CSM-affected GDs had larger areas of the caudal articular processes from C2-C3 through T1-T2. In CSM-affected GDs, the vertebral canal and spinal cord areas were significantly smaller at C5-C6 and C6-C7, the vertebral canal width was significantly narrower at C6-C7 and C7-T1, and the spinal cord width was significantly narrower at C5-C6 and C6-C7. Middle foraminal height was smaller in CSM-affected GDs from C3-C4 through C7-T1. Neutral intervertebral disc widths were smaller in CSM-affected GDs. It was concluded that the cervical vertebral canal dimensions are significantly different between normal and CSM-affected GDs. Absolute vertebral canal stenosis and severe foraminal stenosis involving the cervical vertebrae distinguish CSM-affected from clinically normal GDs. These findings are relevant to the pathogenesis of osseous-associated CSM and should be taken into consideration when performing imaging studies and planning surgery.