Influence of head positioning on the assessment of Chiari-like malformation in Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Summary

Chiari-like malformation (CM) is almost omnipresent in the Cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCS), often leading to syringomyelia (SM). Morphometric studies have produced variable results concerning relationship between the brain parenchyma within the caudal cranial fossa (CCF) and SM. The present study assesses the effect of head position, one potential confounder. Magnetic resonance images of CKCS with CM were reviewed in extended and flexed head positions. Volumes were calculated from transverse T2-weighted brain images. Mid-sagittal images were used for measurement of cerebellar herniation and CSF space between cerebellum and brainstem. Fourteen CKCS were included into the study, seven dogs with CM and seven with CM/SM. There was no difference between the relative brain parenchyma within the CCF in extended position and flexed position, or the brain parenchyma within the rostral and middle cranial fossae proportion. Cerebellar herniation and CSF space between cerebellum and brainstem were significantly increased in the flexed position. Cerebellar herniation and CSF space differed significantly between CM and CM/SM in a flexed head position. Volumetric measurements did not vary with head position. Cerebellar herniation and CSF space between the cerebellum and the brainstem were larger in a flexed head position.

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