This disease which develops as a result of abnormal migration of mantle cells, has been reported as a breed predisposition in the Weimaraner in which it is transmitted by a codominant lethal gene with reduced penetrance and variable expression.
The homozygous condition is lethal. This disorder has also been reported sporadically in other breeds of dogs, including but not limited to Dalmatian, Rottweiler, West Highland White Terrier, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and Alaskan Malamute.
Vertebral anomalies may be associated with myelodysplasia as a result of the close embryonic origin of the spinal cord and vertebral column (i.e. notochord, neural tube, and sclerotomal mesoderm), e.g., malformations of the vertebral bodies and ribs have been reported in a Pekingese dog with spinal dysraphism, along with agenesis of the cauda equina.
Similarly, myelodysraphism may be seen with other developmental conditions, such as spinal canal stenosis, spina bifida, meningoencephalocele, syringomyelia, hydrocephalus, and arachnoid cysts.
Pathologically, the malformation includes hydromyelia, duplicated, stenotic, or absent central canal, syringomyelia (usually in dorsal columns and often delayed in its formation until dogs are several months old, chromatolysis and loss of nerve cell bodies in gray matter, disrupted dorsal median septum and ventral median fissure, and gray matter ectopias.
Clinical signs usually appear by 4 to 6 weeks of age; however, abnormal spinal reflexes reportedly are observed in newborn dysplastic puppies. Affected animals have a symmetrical bunny hopping pelvic limb gait, wide based stance, and overextended pelvic limbs with depressed proprioception. Less constant signs include scoliosis, abnormal hair streams in the dorsal neck region, and koilosternia (gutter-like depression of the chest).
Clinical signs neither progress nor retrogress. There is often a poor correlation between the severity of the clinical signs and the histopathological lesions.
Diagnosis can be difficult as routine hematology, radiography and CSF analysis are usually within normal limits. A definitive diagnosis requires histopathological analysis of sample tissues
There is no known treatment for this condition but most affected animals tend to lead a normal life.
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