UK CKCS Club sponsors new SM research project
Permission to crosspost:
I have just been in touch to clarify the purpose of this project with Dr Rusbridge. It is a fine-tuning of MRI techniques so that a consistent level of grading and diagnosis can be obtained, especially as many MRI technicians may not be familiar with MRIing dogs as opposed to humans.
UK Cavalier Club members had their 2006 AGM yesterday & our Chairman also announced some new SM initiatives:-
The Club will be funding a research project by Dr Clare Rusbridge &
Dr Nick Jeffery that is designed to establish whether the position
of the dog's head in the MRI receiving coil could affect the
apparent severity of the malformations associated with syringomyelia
in the cavalier King Charles spaniel.
24 dogs & bitches belonging to Cavalier Club owners will be MRI
screened, at no cost to the owner. Details will be sent to all UK
members and they will all have the chance to apply for inclusion in
The MRI list on the Club's website will be opened up to include all
MRI scanned cavaliers. The owners will still need to volunteer the
names & send a copy of the scan report. Results can be blanked out
if wished, as no grades or results will be published.
To help raise awareness of the problem, the Kennel Club Genetic's
Coordinator has sent an article on SM, by Clare Rusbridge & Penny
Knowler, to 5,000 UK vets, by way of an email magazine. Leaflets
will be handed out from the KC stall at the BSAVA congress being
held this month.
The Club is intending to arrange an International gathering of
Neurologists and Cavalier owners. It is hoped it will be held at the
Royal Veterinary College, near London, at the end of this year, or
early next year, but plans are not yet finalised.
The possibility of funding a research position at the RVC is also
Yesterday was a good day for me. After all this time it is wonderful
to know that national clubs are accepting there is a problem & are
actively backing the efforts to find a solution.
Hatfield, Herts, UK
One goal is to both see whether a syrinx may sometimes appear worse than it actually is due to angle of the head -- which would mainly affect dogs which already have a severe syrinx.
The main goal however, Dr Rusbridge says, is to determine the best angle to get a clear image of the bone malformation in the skull. This is the aspect of MRIs that can be the most questionable. Small malformations can be very hard to see especially by a neurologist not very familiar with SM and the malformation, so improving the angle may help make the malformation clearer amd improve diagnosis. In addition it is hoped this will help neurologists understand better the differences between a 'normal' cavalier skull (which often is a bit compressed at the back, causing some hind brain compression) and when the skull has a mild malformation. However to date Dr Rusbridge feels there seem to be very few 'normal' skulls so this is a bit of a problematical term; most MRI'd asymptomatic dogs have at least the malformation.