SYRINGOMYELIA NEWS April/May 2007
A research update
By Clare Rusbridge and Penny Knowler
Stone Lion Veterinary Centre, 41 High Street, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5AU
(CR) Confidential Fax: 020 87860525
The knowledge, experience and support of breeders and pet owners continue to play an
essential part into the research for Chiari-like malformation and Syringomyelia.
Preliminary results of pilot study looking at the possible correlation between
head shape and CM/SM in different toy breeds.
In response to some observations made by breeders on head shape, a simple pilot study
was devised and has been generously funded by Sandy Smith’s ‘For the Love of Ollie’
Fund. Dogs were selected on the basis of head length/breadth ratio, degree of doming and
presence or absence of a ski-slope shape to the back of the head. CM/SM status was
confirmed by MRI. Early results of this pilot study found no correlation, however the
investigation is still ongoing. This study has been a tremendously valuable exercise in
other ways. On the basis of head shape, some dogs had been presumed to be affected and
owners had originally elected against MRI screening. However some of these dogs were
actually found to be free of the condition. This suggests that it is not yet possible to
predict CM/SM by a visual assessment of head shape. It also provided the opportunity to
obtain blood DNA samples for the Genome study in Montreal*. In particular, we would
like to thank Lee Pieterse in Australia for her valuable contribution to this study and, of
course, Sandy Smith in Canada.
The ‘For the Love of Ollie’ Fund and Syringomyelia DNA Research Fund
is continuing to support the identification of
i) SM clear lines of dogs in breeds where CM/SM is emerging
ii) SM clear and affected dogs for DNA studies including association studies to
help identify the gene in the more severely affected CKCS breed.
We welcome both information and financial support to continue this work. Donations
can be made in a variety of ways http://www.fortheloveofollie.com/
Donations ‘Syringomyelia DNA Research’
*The genome research aims to:
i) Identify the gene/s involved in CM/SM and how they bring about the
ii) Develop better treatment strategies for affected dogs in all breeds.
iii) Develop a genetic test to identify carriers for breeding purposes to reduce or
eliminate the CM/SM condition in different breeds.