✓ Twelve dogs developed a delayed onset of neurological abnormalities from chronic cervical cord compression that was characteristic of myelopathy. The animals were divided into two groups and matched according to degree of neurological deficit. Six animals underwent decompression through removal of the anteriorly placed compressive device. Throughout the experiment, serial neurological examinations and somatosensory evoked potential studies were performed on each animal. Spinal cord blood flow measurements were obtained during each surgical procedure and at sacrifice. Magnetic resonance images were obtained after compression and before sacrifice.
All animals in the decompressed group showed significant neurological improvement after decompression; no spontaneous improvement in neurological function was seen in the compressed group. On pathological examination, irreversible changes including large motor neuron loss, necrosis, and cavitation were seen in four of the animals in the decompressed group and five in the compressed group.
Cervical spondylotic myelopathy in humans is known to respond to decompression; this study provides further evidence that this animal model for chronic compressive cervical myelopathy accurately reflects the disease process seen in humans.