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Keywords:

  • Dog;
  • Neurology;
  • Neuropathology;
  • Oncology

Background

Intramedullary neoplasms of the canine spinal cord are infrequently reported.

Objective

To describe distribution, clinicopathologic characteristics, radiographic findings, and clinical features of canine intramedullary spinal tumors.

Methods

Retrospective series of histologically confirmed canine intramedullary spinal tumors. Contingency tables were generated for categorical variables (breed, sex, treatment, pain, chief complaint, localization, histology, imaging, and site). Associations were assessed by Fisher's exact, Wilcoxon rank sum test, t-test, and one-way ANOVA.

Results

Intramedullary spinal cord tumors comprised 16% (53/331) of all tumors of the spinal cord. Primary tumors were diagnosed in 66% (35/53) of cases, with neuroepithelial-origin tumors comprising 51% (18/35) of all primary neoplasms. Intraparenchymal metastases of transitional cell carcinoma and hemangiosarcoma accounted for 66% (6/18 each) of all secondary tumors. Primary tumors were more likely to affect younger dogs. Dogs with intramedullary metastases were most commonly presented for primary myelopathic signs (8/18, 44%). The majority of all tumors (52.8%) occurred in the T3-L3 spinal cord segments. All dogs with cervical neurolocalization had primary tumors. Dogs with metastatic lesions had a shorter duration of clinical signs before presentation, but there was no difference in survival time between dogs with primary as compared with secondary tumors.

Conclusions

Intramedullary spinal cord tumors are uncommon. Primary intramedullary spinal cord tumors are more common than secondary intramedullary spinal cord tumors and tend to occur in the cervical spinal cord of younger dogs. Intramedullary metastases occur in older dogs, are rarely asymptomatic, and neurologic dysfunction is a common clinical presentation. Dogs with primary tumors may have a protracted clinical course compared with those with intramedullary metastases.