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Comparison of Cerebral Cranium Volumes between Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with Chiari-Like Malformation, Small Breed Dogs and Labradors

Cross H.R., Cappello R. and Rusbridge C.

J Small Anim Pract, 2009. 50(8): p.399-405.

OBJECTIVES: To ascertain whether cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCSs) have a proportionately smaller caudal fossa compared with other small dogs and with Labradors. To evaluate if cerebellar herniation in CKCS correlates with caudal fossa volume. METHODS: In this retrospective study, three-dimensional images were created from magnetic resonance imaging brain series of 117 dogs (split into three groups: CKCS, Labradors and small breeds) from which the volumes of the fossae and brain parenchyma were calculated. These volumes were transformed into percentages of total cranial cavity and parenchyma volumes, respectively. The percentages were statistically compared among the groups. The percentage of herniated cerebellum in the CKCS was compared using linear regression with the caudal fossa and parenchyma percentages. RESULTS: Cavalier King Charles spaniels had a proportionately smaller caudal fossa compared with Labradors (P=0.002) but not to small breeds (P=0.103). Their caudal fossa parenchyma was proportionately the same volume as Labradors (P=0.976) but greater than small breeds (P=0.005). No relationship was found for the per cent of cerebellum herniated. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The results support mesoderm insufficiency or craniosynostosis as the pathogenesis of Chiari-like malformation (CM) in CKCS. It presents evidence for overcrowding of the caudal fossa due to a mismatch of brain parenchyma and fossa volumes as to why CKCS and not other small dogs are affected.