Clinical Trial
Comparison of two different treatment options for the management of neuropathic pain in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs with Chiari-like Malformation/Syringomyelia.
Background Information

Syringomyelia is common neurological condition of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) that is characterised by the development of fluid filled pockets (syringes) within the spinal cord caused by changes in the flow of the fluid in the brain and the spinal cord due to Chiari-like malformation. Syringomyelia is often presented with episodes of facial rubbing, pain, scratching and / or lameness.

Currently, many different drugs have been proposed for Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia but there is no evidence that any of these drugs is actually helping to improve the symptoms.

Purpose of this Research Trial

The aim of this multicentre study is to determine the best available medical treatment for dogs affected by Chiari-like malformation/Syringomyelia.

Which dogs can be enrolled in the trial?

Only CKCS dogs with MRI confirmed Chiari-like malformation and/ or syringomyelia can be included in the trial. These dogs must show clinical signs of neck/ back pain, air scratching, facial rubbing, screaming/ yelping episodes or wobbliness. Dogs with kidney or gastro-intestinal disease cannot be included.

Are there any side effects associated with these drugs?

No serious side effects have been reported with the use of these drugs which have been used in dogs before and no placebo treatment will be used. Some dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness or wobbliness. However, your dog should not participate in the trial if it has history of kidney disease or gastrointestinal disease.

Do I need to pay for anything?

The cost of the treatment can currently be offered free for CKCS participating at the RVC site and the owner of the dog will not pay for any consultations or re-examinations associated with this trial.

Right of refusal to participate and withdrawal

You are free to choose to participate in the study. You may refuse to participate without any loss of benefit. Your dog will receive the same standard care and treatment which is considered best irrespectively of your decision to participate in the study. You may also withdraw at any time from the study.


The information provided by you will remain confidential. Nobody except the veterinarians involved in the care of your dog will have access to it. Your name and identity will also not be disclosed at any time. However the data may be seen by an Ethical Review Committee and may be published in journal and elsewhere without giving your name or disclosing your identity.

If you want to participate in this trial and hopefully make a difference to dogs suffering from Syringomyelia / Chiari-like malformation, please write an email to or contact one of the centres directly and ask for the person involved in the study.

  • Royal Veterinary College, University of London
      – Ioannis (Johnny) Plessas DVM MRCVS
         Senior Clinical Training Scholar
  • Queen Mother Hospital Royal Veterinary College, University of London
      – Holger Volk DVM PhD DipECVN FHEA MRCVS
         Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • Queens Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge
      – An Vahaesebrouck DVM MRCVS Clinical Neurologist
  • Stone Lion Veterinary Group, London
      – Clare Rusbridge BVMS PhD DECVN MRCVS
  • College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University
      – Nick Jeffery BVSc PhD CertSAO DSAS DECVN DECVS FRCVS
         Professor of Veterinary Clinical Studies.
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Material Copyright © 2012 The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club