CM/SM – the fundamentals
• How is syringomyelia pronounced?
What is syringomyelia?
Why is syringomyelia called syringomyelia?
What causes syringomyelia?
What is Chiari-like malformation (CM)?
What causes Chiari-like malformation (CM)?
• What is central canal dilatation?

• What is a pre syrinx?
• What is ventricular dilatation / ventriculomegaly?
• What other causes of syringomyelia are there?
• How common is trauma a cause of canine syringomyelia?
• Can syringomyelia occur after a birthing injury?
• What is arachnoiditis?

CM/SM – the nitty gritty
• Is syringomyelia in the Cavalier an inherited condition?
• Why do not all dogs with CM develop syringomyelia?
• What breeds are affected with CM/SM?
• How common is CM/SM in Cavaliers?
• But surely dogs with clinical syringomyelia are a tiny minority of the total Cavalier population?!
• How common is CM/SM in the other breeds?
• When was CM/SM first discovered?

CM/SM – clinical signs
• What are the clinical signs of syringomyelia?
• Can CM alone cause clinical signs?
• Why do some dogs with syringomyelia seem completely normal?
• So if a syrinx is detected either by screening or because of investigation of another disease do I need to be concerned?
• What age of dog is affected by syringomyelia?

CM/SM – diagnosis
• How is syringomyelia diagnosed?
• What is a “mini” MRI?
• Will taking radiographs (x-rays) help?
• Would ultrasound help obtain a diagnosis?
• Is there a risk to general anaesthesia in a dog with syringomyelia?

Other conditions
What conditions could have similar signs or be confused with syringomyelia?
• My Cavalier has been diagnosed with PSOMS – what is this?
• My dog has fly catching behaviour – is this caused by syringomyelia?
• My dog has been diagnosed with episodic collapse - what is this and is it related to syringomyelia?
• My dog’s MRI report said that there was also a quadrigeminal cyst – what is this?


CM/SM – treatment

• What drugs are used to treat syringomyelia?
• Do the drugs have side effects?
• Are there any alternative therapy options?

CM/SM – surgery

• What surgical options are there?
• How successful is surgery?
• Should my dog have surgery or not?
• How long does it take a dog to recover from surgery for syringomyelia?
• Will I need to confine my dog after surgery?
• What is the recurrence rate after surgery?
• Will my dog need medication after surgery? 

CM/SM – other issues


• Does syringomyelia progress?
• What is the prognosis for my dog?
• What other things can I do to help my dog?
• Can I help the research into this disease? 
• What research is currently being undertaken?
• Why does the genome scan and other research take so long to get results?
• I want to buy a puppy– how do I find a healthy one?



MRI screening breeding animals


• Why MRI screen?
• But I have heard that it is not that simple?
• Does a MRI give conclusive results?
• I have been told that “syrinxes can develop a day after an what good is the MRI except at the moment it is taken?”
• I have heard that there is no point in MRI screening because neurologists cannot agree of the interpretation? 
• Why bother MRI screening - why not wait until the EBVs are available?
• Why bother MRI screening - why not wait until a genetic test is available?
• What age is it recommended for screening dogs? 
• Is it true that dogs should have permanent identification for MRI screening?
• What is a mini versus a full MRI scan?
• Is a mini MRI scan sufficient – I have been told that syringomyelia cannot be diagnosed without a full scale MRI?

• I have a dog that was determined to have syringomyelia on screening when young (less than 2 years old). He is now 5 years old and he still doesn’t seem to have signs of the disease. Surely he is OK to use at stud?
• What exactly is the problem using a dog with asymptomatic syringomyelia at stud? The dog appears happy and healthy!

Frequently Asked Questions

You are here: Syringomyelia/Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for a treatment Algorithm for veterinary surgeons



You will need Adobe Reader to view PDF files which is free and can be downloaded by clicking here.

 Click to go to the top of the page

Copyright Clare Rusbridge © 2009-2013 no copying from this site please without permission 

Neurovet Ltd UK, Registered office 15 Rosehill, Montgomery Way, Rosehill Estate, Carlisle, Cumbria CA1 2RW


Postal Address: Fitzpatrick Referrals, Halfway House, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2QQ