This is a summary of the various research projects which have been undertaken, or are now in process, or proposed, for Syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Collection and archiving of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel DNA, to identify the mode of inheritance and genes responsible for Syringomyelia, MVD and Epilepsy.

CLARE RUSBRIDGE BVMS, Dip ECVN, MRCVS, European and RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Neurology, and PENNY KNOWLER BSc
The Stone Lion Veterinary Centre, Wimbledon, London, UK

Clare Rusbridge's DNA research is in collaboration with Dr Guy Rouleau, at the Centre for the Study of Brain Diseases, in Montreal, and Dr Berge Minassian, at the Centre for Applied Genomics, at the Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto. Their research aims to include the identification and characterisation of genetic factors predisposing to Chiari 1 malformation, to increase the understanding of the pathophysiology of SM, for better diagnosis, clinical management and ultimate prevention. The initial stage of this undertaking is nearing completion with the collection and archiving of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel DNA.

Neurological signs and results of magnetic resonance imaging in 40 cavalier King Charles spaniels with Chiari type 1-like malformations.

The Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire,
UK Veterinary Record, August 30, 2003

The study found that the dogs had a wide variety of neurological signs, but there was no apparent correlation between the neurological signs and the severity of cerebellar herniation, syringohydromyelia, or hydrocephalus.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health Survey

Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

The study aims to identify health trends in the breed along with diseases and disorders prevalence. To retain geneticist(s) and a canine genetics counsellor to address each concern carefully, reviewing them with each generation. Develop a university based clearing house for MRI, Cardiac and DNA research.

The Study of Caudal Occipital Malformation Syndrome (COMS) in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

The Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine, USA

This study into Caudal Occipital Malformation Syndrome (their preferred name) is based on the hypothesis that MRI and ultrasound parameters can be used to predict dogs at risk, and objectively evaluate efficacy of therapy for this disorder. The study will evaluate a family of CKCS that includes clinically affected and clinically normal dogs. Measurements of ventricle size, foramen magnum size, and spinal cord dilation, as well as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow velocity studies at the foramen magnum, will be evaluated on MRI. Basilar artery resistive index obtained with ultrasound will be assessed. The dogs will be monitored over 2 years to determine the ability of these objective parameters to predict clinical disease progression. For those patients receiving medical or surgical treatment of COMS, each diagnostic test will be applied post-treatment, to evaluate the success of the treatment.

The Effect of Chiari Type 1 Malformations on CSF Flow in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

North Carolina State University Veterinary School, USA, May 2005

This study aims to compare CSF flow patterns and velocity at the level of the foramen magnum between three groups of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: normal CKCS, symptomatic CKCS, and asymptomatic CKCS with Chiari malformations. Researchers will also begin to establish the incidence of asymptomatic Chiari malformations in a group of CKCS, as well as investigate the genetics of this disorder.
The researchers' aims are to locate the site of peak flow and turbulence (which will aid in determining the most appropriate surgical approach to treating the disease), and to find what CSF flow velocity is the threshold for developing clinical signs. The study will also allow the screening of potential breeding dogs for the presence of the disease, and will allow researchers to estimate the incidence of asymptomatic disease in CKCS in North Carolina and surrounding regions.

Proposed Sequential MRI Study of CKCS Litters

Long Island Veterinary Specialists, New York, USA

Dr Dewey plans to start a project of sequentially MRI scanning litters of CKCS pups, in order to identify the prevalence of the malformation and the progression of the disorder. He plans to focus on early surgical intervention in symptomatic puppies, to determine whether or not such intervention is more likely to lead to disease resolution, than operating at adulthood. Dr Dewey's emphasis is on finding the most effective treatment options for dogs affected with COMS.

To the best of our knowledge, the above information is correct, at the time of writing.
May 2005
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