Use of traction during magnetic resonance imaging of caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy (“wobbler syndrome”) in the dog

Penderis J, Dennis R.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2004;45:216-219.

Cervical spondylomyelopathy or “wobbler syndrome” is a well-defined disorder of large-breed dogs, characterized by a compressive lesion affecting the cervical spinal cord that in many dogs may have a dynamic component. Determination of whether this dynamic component is present is important in the decision-making process as regards therapeutic intervention. Despite a significant risk of neurologic deterioration following myelography in some large dogs affected by wobbler syndrome, myelography is considered an essential part of the assessment, primarily as it allows assessment of whether a dynamic compression exists. This same neurologic deterioration is not apparent following magnetic resonance (MR) imaging; however, the use of MR imaging in the investigation of wobbler syndrome has thus far been limited by the inability to perform the traction studies required to ascertain whether a dynamic component to the spinal cord compression exists. This paper presents a technique of applying traction during MR imaging of the cervical spine to reduce a dynamic wobbler syndrome lesion.