Spinal Cord Development Disorders in Dogs

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Spinal Dysraphism in Dogs

"Spinal Dysraphism" is a broad term encompassing developmental disorders of spinal cord leading to various structural defects. It may be progressive or non-progressive in nature. Spinal Dysraphism has been reported in English bulldogs, Samoyeds, Dalmatians, English setters, golden retrievers, rottweilers and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Symptoms and Types

  • Limb weakness
  • Imbalance
  • Neck or head pain
  • Uncoordinated walk
  • Postural abnormalities


Often, spinal dysraphism is due to spinal cord damage due to infection, trauma, or tumor(s). Genetics is also a factor, especially in weimaraners.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. The veterinarian will then conduct a complete physical examination, as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC) -- the results of which may be normal.

X-rays may reveal abnormalities related to vertebral column and spinal cord compression in some patients.

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