Article Structure What Is Your Diagnosis

Thank you for your interest in the What Is Your Diagnosis? feature. We are gratified by the enduring popularity of this feature; however, we are also mindful of the desire to maintain a reasonable time between manuscript submission and publication. Unfortunately, because of the high number of submissions in recent years and the limited available space in the print edition of the journal, we have built up quite a backlog of manuscripts. Consequently, we are temporarily declining all new submissions, other than submissions involving large animals or small ruminants, until we have been able to clear our current backlog. Please check this webpage regularly to learn when new submissions will again be accepted. 

Author Instructions: What Is Your Diagnosis?

The digital edition of JAVMA is the journal of record. Accepted articles may be published in both the print and digital editions or the digital edition alone, as decided by the editorial staff.

What Is Your Diagnosis? Serves as a learning exercise for readers, the majority of whom are general practitioners, by providing an opportunity to evaluate and interpret radiographs and other types of diagnostic images (ie, fluoroscopic, ultrasonographic, CT, MRI, and nuclear scintigraphic images). Readers are invited to submit interesting cases in which an imaging modality is integral to the diagnosis of the disease or condition. Articles focus on the evaluation and interpretation of diagnostic imaging.

Word count for main text: ≤ 1,400

  • Excludes figure legends and references

References: ≤ 5
Figures: ≤ 4 in total

Formatting (applies to main text, references, and figure legends)

  • 8.5 x 11-inch page size
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point font
  • 1-inch (2.5-cm) margins
  • Left justification
  • Sequential line numbering

Manuscript text file (in order of inclusion; uploaded as a single document)

  • Title page—Includes the following:
    • Manuscript title—Includes the feature name, the condition described, and the species involved (eg, What Is Your Diagnosis?: [condition] in a [species]). This title will not be published but will be used for article indexing and reviewer selection.
    • First name, middle initial (if applicable), and last name of each author, along with each author's professional degree and highest earned academic degree (eg, MS or PhD, MPVM). List a bachelor's or associate's degree only if it is the author's only degree. Do not list specialty board certifications or honorary degrees.
    • List of professional affiliations of the authors at the time of case management.
    • Name of the corresponding author and their email address.
  • Body of manuscript—Includes the following sections:
    • History: Provides the patient's signalment and a short description of the patient's history, including pertinent clinical and laboratory findings.
    • The statement: Formulate differential diagnoses, then continue reading.
    • Radiographic Findings and Interpretation (or, Diagnostic Imaging Findings and Interpretation): Includes all pertinent abnormalities visible in the images of Figure 1 and denoted on images of Figure 2, which are otherwise identical to the images of Figure 1) and lists the diagnosis or differential diagnoses considered on the basis of the diagnostic image findings.
    • Treatment and Outcome: Provides a brief (generally, ≤ 5 sentences) description of the clinical management and outcome of the case.
    • Comments: Provides a brief discussion of the differential diagnoses, treatment, and outcome of the case and focus on how the imaging technique was useful in obtaining the diagnosis, rather than on the disease or condition itself. Authors are encouraged to discuss features of the images that contributed to making the diagnosis.
  • Acknowledgments: Identifies individuals who made important contributions to the article but who do not meet the criteria for authorship. Ensure that individuals named in the acknowledgments have given their permission to be listed. Report any funding sources and conflicts of interest.
  • References: Are formatted using the current American Medical Association Manual of Style. Are limited to those that are necessary. Primary references (eg, original studies) rather than secondary references (eg, textbooks and review articles) are preferred whenever possible. Please note that authors bear primary responsibility for the accuracy of all references.
  • Figure legends: Provide sufficient information to allow the figures to be understood without reference to the text. When abbreviations from the main text are used in figure legends, they should be redefined in the legends. When using abbreviations unique to the figures, each should be defined in the legend in alphabetical order (eg, ALP = Alkaline phosphatase. CK = Creatine kinase. TP = Total protein.).

Figures (to be uploaded separately)

  • Provide 2 copies of the main diagnostic images for Figures 1 and 2. These are limited to radiographic, fluoroscopic, ultrasonographic, CT, MRI, or nuclear scintigraphic images. Subsequent figures may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Photographs (eg, photographs of animals or gross specimens, photomicrographs, or endoscopic images) are not allowed.
  • For Figure 1, provide images with no identifying marks other than positional labels. For radiographic images, orthogonal views should be provided.
  • For Figure 2, provide the same images as in Figure 1 and include arrows or other labels to identify important abnormalities and anatomic landmarks.
  • Save figures as separate image files at a minimum resolution of 300 dots per inch at the size they will be printed in the journal (ie, usually the width of 1 printed column or 8 cm).
  • For indicators of lesions or anatomic landmarks:
    • Use sufficiently large text and symbols to be legible when the figure is reduced for publication. Text and symbols should be at least 1.5 mm tall when the figure is reduced to 8 cm in width.
    • Use a unique indicator (eg, different symbol, different symbol color [preferred options are black, white, or gray, or different text label) for each key finding or structure in the images; do not use the same indicator for different structures or lesions. Exceptions to the use of grayscale (vs color) images may be considered on a case-by-case basis. If a figure has multiple panels (eg, panels A, B, and C), avoid using similarly lettered indicators.
  • For figures that include multiple panels, label each panel with a capital letter in the same corner of each panel. If a figure contains 2 or more rows of panels, apply the letter labels sequentially from left to right in the first row, then from left to right in the second row, and so on.

Manuscript submission
Are submitted electronically at

  • Enter the manuscript title from the title page.
  • In the Abstract field, provide a brief (≤ 3 sentences) synopsis of the case (eg, patient signalment and presenting complaints, imaging modality or modalities used, and condition or disease diagnosed).

When prompted during manuscript submission, supply keywords from the journal website that describe the topic of the manuscript to facilitate indexing and aid in the selection of reviewers.

Return to JAVMA instructions for authors