Radiographic morphology of the cranial portion of the cervical vertebral column in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and its relationship to syringomyelia.
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OBJECTIVE: To compare radiographic morphology of the atlantoaxial region between Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCSs) and dogs of other breeds and determine whether there was an association between radiographic morphology of the atlantoaxial region and syringomyelia in CKCSs. ANIMALS: 65 CKCSs and 72 dogs of other breeds. PROCEDURES: The amount that the spinous process of the axis overlapped the dorsal arch of the atlas, the relative size of the spinous process of the axis, and the amount of widening of the atlantoaxial joint that occurred when the neck was moved from a neutral to a flexed position were measured on lateral radiographic projections of the atlantoaxial region. Magnetic resonance images were reviewed to identify CKCSs with syringomyelia. RESULTS: The amount of overlap of the atlas and axis and the relative size of the spinous process of the axis were significantly smaller in CKCSs than in dogs of other breeds. However, the amount of widening of the atlantoaxial joint that occurred when the neck was moved from a neutral to a flexed position was not significantly different between groups, and no association was detected between syringomyelia and excessive atlantoaxial joint space widening or between syringomyelia and an excessively small axial spinous process. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results suggested that radiographic morphology of the atlantoaxial region in CKCSs differs from morphology of that region in dogs of other breeds, but that these differences do not account for why some CKCSs develop syringomyelia and others do not.