Dynamic Compression of the Cervical Spinal Cord
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The authors report the radiographic and pathologic findings in 10 Great Dane dogs with the wobbler syndrome. In all 10 dogs it was possible to demonstrate myelographically that there was cervical spinal cord compression at 1 or 2 sites. The spinal cord compression was mainly dynamic in nature, as degree of compression increased in extension and decreased in flexion of the neck in 8 dogs. In 1 dog with deformed vertebral bodies (G6 and C7), compression increased slightly in flexion of the neck. In another dog, compression was lateral and could only be seen in the ventrodorsal view. The macroscopic findings substantiated the radiologic findings. The cause of the spinal cord compression was in 8 dogs a decrease in the dorsoventral diameter of the orifice of the vertebral canal of 1 or 2 vertebrae in combination with deformation and elongation of 1 or several vertebral arches. In extension of the neck, the cervical spinal cord was squeezed between the anterior tip of the elongated vertebral arch and the caudodorsal rim of the body of the adjacent cranial vertebra. Histologic examination was made of the spinal cord in 5 dogs and the compressive lesions that were found could explain the neurologic signs. In the discussion, the question is raised as to why pain is not a prominent sign in dogs with the wobbler syndrome in contrast to in dogs with cervical disc protrusion. It is believed that the inflammatory foreign body reaction, triggered by the protruded calcified nucleus pulposus is the main cause of pain in the disc protrusion syndrome. In the wobbler syndrome there is no obvious inflammatory reaction in the epidural space. Finally, the possible etiologic factors oC importance for the deformation oC the cervical vertebrae in wobblers are discussed. There are indications that both overnutrition and a genetic trait for rapid growth are of importance.
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