Fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy in miniature schnauzers

J. C. Hawthorne, L. J. Wallace, W. R. Fenner, D. J. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In large- and giant-breed dogs, fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy (FCEM) is a well-recognized syndrome of acute spinal cord infarction caused by embolization of fibrocartilage. The miniature schnauzer is reportedly the most frequently affected small breed, although clinical data from only six miniature schnauzers with FCEM is available in the literature. The purposes of this study were to determine the relative frequency of FCEM compared to other causes of myelopathy in miniature schnauzers, to characterize the clinicopathological features of FCEM in 38 miniature schnauzers, and to directly compare FCEM and intervertebral disk herniation in miniature schnauzers with respect to age at diagnosis; gender; neuroanatomical localization; and progression, asymmetry, and severity of neurological deficits. Fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy was the most common cause of myelopathy in miniature schnauzers. Age at diagnosis, asymmetry and severity of neurological deficits, and lack of progression of clinical signs after 24 hours assisted in distinguishing FCEM from intervertebral disk herniation. Fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy-related mortality in miniature schnauzers was significantly lower than mortality rates reported for affected large and giant breeds. Only 22% of miniature schnauzers were euthanized because of their disease, although the vast majority of survivors failed to achieve complete neurological recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-383
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Animal Hospital Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


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