• cervical spondylomyelopathy;
  • degenerative joint disease;
  • DJD;
  • MRI;
  • process joint;
  • Wobbler syndrome

Cervical spondylomyelopathy or Wobbler syndrome commonly affects the cervical vertebral column of Great Dane dogs. Degenerative changes affecting the articular process joints are a frequent finding in these patients; however, the correlation between these changes and other features of cervical spondylomyelopathy are uncertain. We described and graded the degenerative changes evident in the cervical articular process joints from 13 Great Danes dogs with cervical spondylomyelopathy using MRimaging, and evaluated the relationship between individual features of cervical articular process joint degeneration and the presence of spinal cord compression, vertebral foraminal stenosis, intramedullary spinal cord changes, and intervertebral disc degenerative changes. Degenerative changes affecting the articular process joints were common, with only 13 of 94 (14%) having no degenerative changes. The most severe changes were evident between C4–C5 and C7–T1 intervertebral spaces. Reduction or loss of the hyperintense synovial fluid signal on T2-weighted MR images was the most frequent feature associated with articular process joint degenerative changes. Degenerative changes of the articular process joints affecting the synovial fluid or articular surface, or causing lateral hypertrophic tissue, were positively correlated with lateral spinal cord compression and vertebral foraminal stenosis. Dorsal hypertrophic tissue was positively correlated with dorsal spinal cord compression. Disc-associated spinal cord compression was recognized less frequently.