Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spinal curve in scoliosis may have an "S" or "C" shape. The lateral deviation of the spine can cause abnormal gait, changes in weight bearing, and chronic pain. Associated spinal cord compression can result in poor movement coordination and partial paralysis. Pain may be the result of damage to vertebrae or the associated ligaments, but it often occurs due to damage to intervertebral disc and supporting ligaments. Most cases of scoliosis are mild and painless. What causes scoliosis is mostly unknown. Genetic, hormonal, and mucopolysaccharidosis play a role.3,4 Progressive scoliosis may result from other conditions of the spinal cord, such as hydromyelia, syringomyelia or cystic lesions of the spinal cord. Evaluation for underlying spinal cord defects in association with scoliosis is most accurately performed with MRI spinal test.2 When the curve is most severe, surgical treatment may become necessary. The scoliotic defects are surgically straightened and the affected vertebrae are fused.


  1. Bagley RS, Silver GM, Seguin B, Lincoln JD, Britt LG. Scoliosis and associated cystic spinal cord lesion in a dog.
  2. Patrick R. Gavin, Rodney S. Bagley. Practical small animal MRI
  3. Rodney S. Bagley. Fundamentals of Veterinary Clinical Neurology
  4. Postnatal progression of bone disease in the cervical spines of mucopolysaccharidosis I dogs



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