Veterinary Neurosurgery – Canine Spinal Cord Tumors
are usually seen in dogs 5 years of age or older and there is a seeming prevalence in medium to large breeds.
They can be one of four varieties, which occur either in the cartilage of the spinal cord, in the nerve sheath of the spinal cord, in the cells of the nervous system around the spinal cord, or in the nerve roots. The most common veterinary spinal tumors occur in the cartilage or the nerve sheath, with the nervous system and nerve root tumors occurring very rarely.
- Neck or back pain
- Wobbly gait
Symptoms exhibited can include limping due to compression of the spinal cord and the onset of clinical signs is usually very slow to progress. To determine if your dog has a tumor of the spinal cord, there are some diagnostic tests that can be performed by a board certified veterinary neurosurgeon. The first evaluation will likely be a full blood chemistry panel to determine that a spinal tumor is a possibility and following that, a myelogram, MRI, or CT scan can locate spinal abnormalities indicative of a tumor.
Depending on the location that the tumor is growing from, surgery may be a viable option for tumor removal. This decision will be made by the veterinary surgeon and the pet’s owner after all diagnostics are completed and based on the best information available as to the size and type of spinal cord tumor that is affecting the patient.