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GSD2 04-27-2014 03:28 PM

subarachnoid cyst
I don't post often, but I have been on the board quite a while. Usually if I have a question a search will have the answer for me. No info on this though!
My 4 year old girl has a subarachnoid cyst on her spine. :( Besides being very rare, the vet that did her MRI said he has never seen one on a GSD before. The neurologist we saw has only performed this type of surgery a few times, as well. We went to a vet specialty hospital that is well known in the LA area.
This isn't actually a cyst, but an accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid between the membranes on the spinal column. The surgery is complicated and very delicate. These 'cysts' tend to re-occur after the surgery we were discussing, marsupialization, where they have to mess with the delicate cerebral spinal membranes. Very scary. They are usually diagnosed while looking for some other problem. My vet thought she had a disk protrusion in the thoracic area of her spine after an x-ray and ordered the MRI where they found this.
By the time we went for the neurological re-check her neuro exam was good and she has few symptoms. It was decided to 'wait and watch' at this time. Possibly with a re-check of the MRI in a few months to see if there has been any change, although the MRI was pretty hard on both of us!
I have been looking for as much info on this disorder as I can find. Being rare, and rarer yet in the GSD, I still thought it a good chance someone here may have had experience with this disorder, and perhaps for some support as this has been very difficult for both of us. It can cause rear end paralysis and is likely going to be the end our SAR career. :( Thank you for reading and any support you may have to offer.:o

RebelGSD 04-27-2014 03:43 PM

Oh no, this sounds like a tough one. I suggest looking at what they do with people. I doubt that people do much surgery like this on dogs.
Wishing that she does great without surgery.

ksotto333 04-27-2014 03:46 PM

I don't have any knowledge, but so sorry to hear about your girl's problem. Hope someone here is able to help...

GSD2 04-27-2014 05:52 PM

Thanks....yes from what I have read with people the surgery is dependent on symptoms as well. I'm hoping she can do well without the surgery. So weird for her to get something so rare.............

RebelGSD 04-27-2014 07:13 PM

It probably often goes undiagnosed as not many owners wil do the MRI and not many vets would recognize it. It will be probably chalked up as back or disk problems.

GSD2 04-27-2014 08:03 PM

Yes, I read that most are found while looking for something else. It may not even be so rare, just rarely diagnosed. Based on symptoms and physical exam alone subarachnoid cyst would not have even been on the table. She was originally diagnosed with a disk protrusion. Without the MRI I would have never known............

Colie CVT 04-27-2014 10:42 PM

I happen to work with three surgeons who have actually done this type of procedure before. It is very time consuming, very delicate and the main time when I see them pull out the ophthalmologist's microscope to help them with the surgery. I almost want to say that we have done this procedure on a german shepherd, but I could be mixing up some of our patients (we see a lot of back/neck issues). I know we have done this on an american bully puppy who had it from when he was born. His recovery has been a tough one, but he lived for a very long time without the use of his back legs and the way they developed has caused some trouble.

I would have to ask the surgeons if they did the marsupial procedure with the cysts. That sounds like what they have done. I can ask some more information for you if you would like. :) But I know for a fact we have done this on I want to say three dogs. They will likely remember it better than I can. And as they were the ones doing it, they know what to do. I know that they consulted some neurologists that they know about it. And we actually have had people come up from other states to see the surgeons who I work with.

Most people are limited in diagnosing because of cost. MRI is not cheap to run and unfortunately, animals have to be sedated if not under general anesthesia in order to have it done. We used to take patients to human facilities, but we have an on site MRI now. Not the greatest, but it works. The cost of the surgery isn't inexpensive either, but it is extremely delicate surgery. I know they were very concerned about the patients during it.

GSD2 04-28-2014 10:46 AM

Thank you ColieCVT. I appreciate you answering my post. I was hoping you would see this and have some input. :) I was pretty upset to learn that she would have to have surgery for a disk problem, then when I learned the results of the MRI and the neurosurgeon said that this surgery was not 'easy peasy' like a disk surgery :0. I have always been afraid of surgery for myself or my family, and the prospect of this scars the bee gee bees out of me. Some people think, well it must be done get it over with, I would really be a basket case if we do this. The MRI was difficult as it was, we had to drive a couple of hours to get to an MRI that was big enough as the neuro vet wanted a larger portion of the spine looked at and their MRI was not big enough. It was at least two hours under anesthesia, that is as long as many surgeries! Then she had rear end weakness for days. MRI's come with risks that I was not aware of as well. (Until I signed that permission paperwork, :0)

I would be more than grateful if you would be able to ask your surgeons for more info on this disorder and treatments. I suppose I would like to know the outcome of the surgeries, the success rate. Any information would be greatly appreciated! My neurologist did say that these 'cysts' do tend to re-occur, which is so very discouraging. It would be really rough to do this surgery and then have it re-occur. .You can get very little info from the internet, so I thank you so very much for your offer to ask your surgeons, that is so kind of you :)

Shaydie 06-30-2014 08:04 AM

Is there any news on this subject?
Although I don't have a german shepard, my dog has just been diagnosed with this and I'm very ancxious and hope to find encouragement or some kind of result.

Please, let us know what the status is so far?



GSD2 08-13-2014 12:37 AM

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. I just came across your post. Sorry it took so long to respond. I think like many medical issues there are different levels of impairment with this. It can depend on where the cyst is. In large dogs it is usually in the cervical area. Small dogs tend to have the lower spine area. I do know the sooner it is caught the better the outcome if surgery is your choice. I've done a bit of research on the condition, not much I can find on-line and most primary vets don't know much about it. Can you give us an update, where the cyst is located, what kind of dog. My dog at this point is doing quite well, although we are not back to full activity.

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