View Full Version : MRIs in MN

1st December 2007, 02:03 PM
Found this on another group...thought some of you might be interested. The lady said it was ok to cross-post...

Hello Everyone,

I had one of my Cavaliers at the University of Minnesota today for
appointments and had an interesting conversation with one of the
doctors. She would like to explore offering reduced-cost screening
MRIs for Cavaliers (for PSOM and SM - not full spine, but upper neck
and back of skull) The U of MN has a new MRI machine, and this
would be a joint offering by the dermatology and radiology

Before she gets too far into this, she'd like to know how many
Cavalier owners and breeders in the area would have an interest in
participating. The more people willing to take advantage of it,
the harder she'll work to get grants (or twist arms) to put it

At full price, my understanding is the MRI here runs about $1200.00,
including the anesthesia costs. She's hoping to get an "extremely
reduced" rate, hopefully even as low at 50%, if possible.

So, the questions are:
1) how many of you would be willing to have a screening, and on how
many dogs;
2) how much would you be willing to pay for a screening, knowing
full cost is around $1200.

Please feel free to email me privately if you don't want to answer
publicly. I'm hoping to reach as many Cavalier people in the Upper
Midwest as possible. Thanks!

pduffey1@comcast. net

Cathy Moon
1st December 2007, 02:31 PM
Charlie's neurologist told me it's better to have a full length MRI, because it is possible to have a syrinx lower on the spine and it would be missed.

1st December 2007, 03:02 PM
It is better to have a full length as it just plain tells you more--tells you the whole picture. While this is a great program, and our neuro is the one behind it, I'd strongly recommend going with a full scan. Abbey stopped breathing during her procedure, so we didn't get a full scan. As a result, we were only able to tell that the upper portion is clear of syrinxes, but yet she has all the symptoms of SM. McVey labeled her as COSM, but yet he feels there could be a possibility of syrinxes in her lower spine due to her symptoms, most of which seemed focused in her lower area. We won't know for sure until we have another MRI done.

1st December 2007, 03:42 PM
For breeders in particular, the neurologists involved in the main research group all generally feel a neck, skull and shoulder MRI is fine. So far all evidence is that this will be a strong indicator of affectedness in the vast majority of cavaliers. In many ways it is not going to matter if you have a symptomatic dog that shows the Chiari-like malformation and has symptoms of what has been called COMS (but actually the larger group of neurologists at the London SM conference including Dr Marino who gave t that name, decided it is better to call this condition CM/SM as COMS (caudal occipital malformation syndrome) is too specific and there are many elements involved).

This is because if the malformation is there, and the dog has symptoms, you address the condition in pretty much exactly the same way. A syrinx may or may not complicate things. If the dog has SM, CM tends to be its cause in 99.9% of cases; and if CM exists then a syrinx could develop at any point in the dog's life. Unfortunately, CM seems to exist in nearly all cavaliers -- around 90%. So there are a lot of apparent factors that go into whether a CM dog ever develops SM or how it copes with either CM or SM. Some dogs definitely have symptoms, including severe symptoms, from CM alone, probably not least because it often causes the brain to be forced out into the spine. Humans often have pain from CM -- in greater numbers than SM --because it starts when they have CM and they may not develop SM.

The bottom line though is if there's pain, there's pain, and the pain tends to be very similarly expressed in dogs with these problems... and there are only a handful of treatment options -- surgery or trying a range of medications often in concert.

Personally I think a low cost scheme in the Midwest is really crucial and would hope it would link in with what is happening at LIVS in Long Island with Drs Marino and Dewey, and the UK low cost centres. A low cost scheme would help breeders, pet owners, dogs, and hopefully, research. :thmbsup:

For someone with a dog they think might have SM, they should discuss whether it is better to get a full length scan for diagnosis and treatment.