Syringosubarachnoid shunt as a management for syringohydromyelia in dogs

Motta L, Skerritt GC.

J Small Anim Pract 2012;53:205-212.

Objective: To evaluate retrospectively the efficacy of syringosubarachnoid shunt for the management of syringohydromyelia/syringomyelia. Methods: Eleven dogs diagnosed with syringohydromyelia/syringomyelia by magnetic resonance imaging associated with Chiari-like malformation underwent placement of a syringosubarachnoid shunt at the cervical (nine dogs) or lumbar (two dogs) spinal cord. In one dog, a suboccipital decompression (foramen magnum decompression) was performed 4 months before inserting a syringosubarachnoid shunt. All dogs were evaluated neurologically a few hours after surgery, 2 weeks and 6 months postoperatively. Retrospectively, cases were assigned a preoperative and postoperative pain score. Results: There were no intra- or peri-operative complications. One dog (9%) was euthanased 5 weeks after surgery. Progressive neurological improvement was observed in nine dogs (81.8%) 2 weeks and 6 months postoperatively. No clinical improvement was seen in another dog (9%). One dog (9%) had replacement of the syringosubarachnoid shunt. Seven dogs (63.6%) were still alive 1 to 4 years (mean, 2.6 years) after surgery. Clinical Significance: Placement of a syringosubarachnoid shunt in the presence of a sufficiently large syrinx appears to be beneficial in dogs with Chiari-like malformation and associated syringohydromyelia/syringomyelia.