Extradural spinal synovial cysts in nine dogs



Nine dogs presenting for investigation of cervical or thoracolumbar myelopathies were diagnosed with extradural spinal synovial cysts. Degenerative disease affecting the articular facets or intervertebral discs was present on plain spinal radiographs in all cases. Myelography was consistent with dorsolateral, extradural spinal cord compression. Two groups of dogs were identified: (1) young, giant breed dogs with multiple cysts involving one or more levels of the cervical spinal cord; and (2) older, large breed dogs with solitary cysts involving the thoracolumbar spinal cord. The synovial cysts constituted the major compressive lesions in four of the dogs. Analysis of lumbar cerebrospinal fluid demonstrated albuminocytological dissociation, consistent with chronic compressive myelopathy, in six dogs. All dogs underwent decompressive surgery and the diagnosis of synovial cysts was confirmed histologically. The mean follow-up period was 17 months (range four to 36 months). At the time of follow-up, all dogs were fully ambulatory with improved neurological function compared with that at initial presentation.