Institute of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiation Oncology, University of Kaposvár, Kaposvár, Hungary
The term syringomyelia means the formation of syrinx (i.e. cavitation) in the spinal cord. Although several mechanisms for the development of syrinx have been postulated, the exact pathogenesis is still unknown. Syringomyelia can be associated with congenital malformations of the skull base, or can be secondary to lesions involving the spinal cord, such as tumor, trauma or infections, resulting in corticospinal-fluid (CSF) flow obstruction. The symptoms are variable, according to the location of the syrinx in the spinal cord. Among others chronic pain, increased sensitivity to touch, scoliosis, hindlimb weakness, ataxia, facial nerve paralysis, deafness, seizures and/or loss of bowel/bladder control might be present. Nonsymptomatic cases are reported as well. The diagnosis is based on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Conservative therapy includes the use of analgesics, corticosteroids and drugs reducing CSF production. In the veterinary practice, surgery is rarely a therapeutic option. In this study, we present three cases of syringomyelia: a 7 years old Cocker Spaniel and two Yorkshire Terriers, aging 2 and 2,5 years. The patients presented with different symptoms (multiple neurological deficits, ataxia, hindlimb weakness, epilepsy). In all three cases, syringomyelia was diagnosed by using a 1,5 T Siemens Magnetom Vision Plus, and Siemens Magnetom Avanto MRI scanner. To our knowledge, this is the first report in Hungary on the diagnosis of canine syringomyelia using MRI.