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Computer simulation of syringomyelia in dogs

Cirovic, Srdjan, Lloyd, R, Jovanovik, J, Volk, H and Rusbridge, Clare (2018) Computer simulation of syringomyelia in dogs BMC Veterinary Research, 14 (82).

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Syringomyelia is a pathological condition in which fluid-filled cavities (syringes) form and expand in the spinal cord. Syringomyelia is often linked with obstruction of the craniocervical junction and a Chiari malformation,which is similar in both humans and animals. Some brachycephalic toy breed dogs such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) are particularly predisposed. The exact mechanism of the formation of syringomyelia is undetermined and consequently with the lack of clinical explanation, engineers and mathematicians have resorted to computer models to identify possible physical mechanisms that can lead to syringes. We developed a computer model of the spinal cavity of a CKCS suffering from a large syrinx. The model was excited at the cranial end to simulate the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the spinal cord due to the shift of blood volume in the cranium related to the cardiac cycle. To simulate the normal condition,the movement was prescribed to the CSF. To simulate the pathological condition, the movement of CSF was blocked.


For normal conditions the pressure in the SAS was approximately 400 Pa and the same applied to all stress components in the spinal cord. The stress was uniformly distributed along the length of the spinal cord.When the blockage between the cranial and spinal CSF spaces forced the cord to move with the cardiac cycle,shear and axial normal stresses in the cord increased significantly. The sites where the elevated stress was most pronounced coincided with the axial locations where the syringes typically form, but they were at the perimeter rather than in the central portion of the cord. This elevated stress originated from the bending of the cord at the locations where its curvature was high.


The results suggest that it is possible that repetitive stressing of the spinal cord caused by its exaggerated movement could be a cause for the formation of initial syringes. Further consideration of factors such as cord tethering and the difference in mechanical properties of white and grey matter is needed to fully explore this possibility.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Authors :
Lloyd, R
Jovanovik, J
Volk, H
Date : 9 March 2018
DOI : 10.1186/s12917-018-1410-7
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright The Author(s). 2018 Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Mathematical modelling, Chiari malformation, Pathophysiology, Syrinx
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 16 Mar 2018 08:59
Last Modified : 12 Oct 2018 08:50

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