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Case Report: Cervical Syringomyelia Secondary to Suspected Glioma in a Yorkshire Terrier.

A six-year-old Fn Yorkshire Terrier presented with a four week history of cervical spinal pain/ left thoracic limb lameness and lethargy.


fig.1 - Transverse T1W MR-scan of cervical spine, showing large syrinx within cord parenchyma.

Neurological examination revealed loss of conscious proprioception in the left thoracic and pelvic limbs.  There was bilateral loss of the menace response, but all other cranial nerves were normal. 

MR-scans of the cervical spine revealed cervical syringomyelia (see fig.1)secondary to the presence of a large/ expansile cystic mass centred to the right of the midline in the region of the thalamus (fig.2).  Differentials would include neoplasia (glioma, choroid plexus tumour, lymphoma) granuloma and Yorkshire terrier encephalitis.


The owners declined further investigations/ radiotherapy, and the dog was euthanased.


Syringomyelia is commonly seen secondary to Chiari-like malformation in brachycephalic breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels -(see article:

fig.2 - Sagittal T2W MR-scan, showing large, cystic mass in mid brain with secondary cervical syringomelia

but syringomyelia may occasionally develop secondary to other disease processes that affect CSF flow, such as neoplasia and post trauma/ surgical scarring.  Hence they can occur in a wide range of breeds and should be included in the differential list for unexplained spinal/ limb pain.