Since most patients with syringomyelia have CLM as the underlying causative disorder, it can be difficult to discern which clinical signs are due to the CLM and which are due to the syrinx. Hyperesthesia or pain along the spine is a hallmark clinical sign of syringomyelia. Scratching activity and scoliosis are also common manifestations. Some dogs will develop clinical signs of spinal cord dysfunction (myelopathy), usually in the cervical (neck) spinal cord region.
This can be manifested by difficulty walking in all four limbs. In some cases, dogs with cervical myelopathy due to syringomyelia will develop a condition called central cord syndrome. In this scenario, the thoracic limbs are severely compromised, but the pelvic limbs are functioning normally or nearly so. This occurs when the syrinx interferes with the lower motor neurons innervating the thoracic limbs, but does not appreciably affect upper motor neuron tracts travelling to the pelvic limbs.