Table 2: Clinical signs of clinically relevant syringomyelia*
Clinical signsFrequency (% affected with CM-P and SM)Frequency (% affected with SM-S)Notes
Phantom scratching4367Rhythmic scratching action towards neck, but not contacting the skin, together with a curvature of the body and neck towards the foot. Induced by light rubbing of the neck or ear region and triggered by excitement, anxiety and exercise. Associated with a large mid-cervical syringe extending to the superficial dorsal horn ipsilateral to the scratching
Scoliosis/cervicothoracic torticollis1827Corkscrew deviation of neck associated with a large mid-cervical syringe extending to the superficial dorsal horn ipsilateral to lateral shoulder deviation and contralateral to the ventral head tilt
Weakness2539Thoracic limb and paraspinal muscle weakness associated with a large cervicothoracic syringe
Thoracic limb muscle atrophy46Thoracic limb muscle atrophy associated with a large C5-T1 spinal segment syringe
Postural responses decreased1015As demonstrated by ‘hopping’, ‘hemi-walking’ and ‘correction of knuckled over paw’ testing. Thoracic limbs are typically more affected than pelvic limbs. Consider other differentials if the dog presents with severe paraparesis
  • CM-P Chiari-like malformation-associated pain, SM-S Syringomyelia-specific signs

  • Frequency is based on owner-reported and clinical examination findings in CM-P and SM affected Cavalier King Charles spaniels (Rusbridge and others 2019)

  • * That is, SM-S (maximum transverse width equal to or greater than 4 mm )