Award Photo CVM  

Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Principal Investigator: Sofia Cerda-Gonzalez

Department of Clinical Sciences
Contact Information: Email:;  Phone:   607-253-4446
Sponsor:  American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club
Grant Number:  NC-CT-2011-106
Title: Role of Morphology in Clinical Progression and Syingomyella in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Chiari-like Malformations
Annual Direct Cost: $21,244
Project Period: 06/12/2011-06/11/2012

Chiari-like malformations are a serious health concern for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Together, Chiari-like malformations and syringomyelia cause devastating clinical signs, including screaming episodes, head and neck pain, near-constant neck and shoulder scratching, scoliosis (abnormally curved spine), and difficulty walking. However, Chiari-like malformations and syringomyelia may also be diagnosed in asymptomatic Cavalier King Charles Spaniels examined for unrelated problems or upon pre-breeding screening. It is unclear if, over time, these dogs will develop clinical signs. There is a real need to determine the clinical significance of imaging findings in these asymptomatic dogs. A prior study of Chiari-like malformations funded by the ACKCSC Charitable Trust found that skull size correlates with the presence of clinical signs at the time of imaging, but predictors of the development and worsening of clinical signs in dogs with this disorder have not yet been identified. A longitudinal study is essential to define predictors of future development of clinical signs and worsening over time. This will guide the treatment of dogs diagnosed with a Chiari-like malformation and/or syringomyelia. This study aims to answer this question by evaluating the relationship between changes in brain structure and skull size and clinical progression, in a group of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which previously underwent clinical and imaging evaluations in 2007 by the same authors.