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Objectives: To assess if the volumes of the caudal cranial fossa (CCF), parenchyma within the caudal cranial fossa (CCFP) or ventricles (V) are associated with syringomyelia (SM) in cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCS) with Chiari-like malformation (CM). To evaluate if volumes are associated with transverse syrinx width.

Methods: Magnetic resonance images of 59 CKCS with CM were retrospectively reviewed and grouped with or without SM. Three-dimensional images were created and volumes of the fossae, brain parenchyma and ventricular system were calculated from which percentages of CCF, CCFP and V were created. If present, syrinx size was measured from its maximal transverse width. The percentages were statistically compared between groups, and correlation between percentages and syrinx dimensions was made.

Results: CKCS with SM had significantly higher CCFP (P=0·0001) and V (P=0·0002) to those without but no significant difference in CCF (P=0·925). There was a positive correlation between CCFP and syrinx width (Pearson r=0·437) and ventricle size to syrinx width (Spearman r=0·627).

Clinical Significance: A more marked overcrowding of the CCF is associated with SM, which may explain the high incidence of SM in CKCS with CM. The association between ventricle and syrinx dimensions supports the theory that SM development is the result of altered cerebrospinal fluid dynamics.