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Magnetic resonance imaging features of Great Danes with and without clinical signs of cervical spondylomyelopathy

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Abstract

Objective—To characterize and compare the MRI morphological features of the cervical vertebral column of Great Danes with and without clinical signs of cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM).

Design—Prospective cohort study.

Animals—30 Great Danes (15 clinically normal and 15 CSM-affected).

Procedures—All dogs underwent MRI of the cervical vertebral column (C2–3 through T1–2). Features evaluated included sites of subarachnoid space compression, spinal cord compression, or both; degree, cause, and direction of compression; MRI signal changes of the spinal cord; articular process (facet) joint characteristics; internal vertebral venous plexus visibility; and presence of extradural synovial cysts as well as presence and degree of intervertebral disk degeneration and foraminal stenosis.

Results—Clinically normal and CSM-affected dogs had 11 and 61 compressive sites, respectively, detected with MRI. All CSM-affected dogs had ≥ 1 site of spinal cord compression. No signal changes were observed in spinal cords of normal dogs, whereas 14 sites of hyperintensity were found in 9 CSM-affected dogs. Foraminal stenosis was present in 11 clinically normal and all CSM-affected dogs. The number of stenotic foraminal sites was significantly greater in the CSM-affected group, and severe stenosis appeared to be more common in this group than in the clinically normal group. Significant differences were identified between clinically normal and CSM-affected dogs with regard to amount of synovial fluid evident, regularity of articular surfaces, degree of articular process joint proliferation, and internal vertebral venous plexus visibility.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Abnormalities were detected with MRI in several clinically normal Great Danes. Severe spinal cord compression, number of stenotic foraminal sites, and signal changes within the spinal cord distinguished CSM-affected from clinically normal Great Danes.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Martin-Vaquero's present address is Centro Médico Veterinario Delicias, Calle Delicias 35, CP 28045, Madrid, Spain.

Supported by the Great Dane Club of America, an Intramural Canine grant from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science Award (grant No. UL1TR000090) from the National Center For Advancing Translational Sciences.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Presented in abstract form at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Seattle, June 2013.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences or the National Institutes of Health.

The authors thank Marc Hardman for assistance with illustrations and Gary Phillips for assistance with statistical analysis.

Address correspondence to Dr. Martin-Vaquero (paulagu83@gmail.com).