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  • Author or Editor: Patrick R. Kircher x
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To evaluate agreement in results obtained with an MRI-based grading scheme and a macroscopic observation-based grading scheme when used to assess intervertebral disk (IVD) degeneration in cats.


241 MRI and 143 macroscopic images of singular IVDs in 44 client-owned cats (40 cadaveric and 4 live).


Singular images of IVDs were obtained of live cats admitted for treatment of suspected neurologic disease (MRI images of IVDs) and of cadavers of cats euthanized for reasons unrelated to spinal disease (MRI and macroscopic images of IVDs) at the Small Animal Hospital, Vetsuisse Faculty, Zurich, Switzerland, between January 12, 2015, and October 19, 2015. The IVD images were randomized and evaluated twice by 4 observers for each grading scheme. Inter- and intraobserver reliability for the grading schemes was assessed with Cohen weighted κ analysis. Agreement and correlation between results obtained with the 2 grading schemes were determined with Cohen weighted κ and Spearman correlation coefficient (ρ) analyses, respectively.


Inter- and intraobserver agreement between results was substantial to almost perfect (mean weighted κ, 0.66 to 0.83 and 0.71 to 0.86, respectively) for the MRI-based grading scheme and moderate to substantial (mean weighted κ, 0.42 to 0.80 and 0.65 to 0.79, respectively) for the macroscopic observation-based grading scheme. Between the 2 grading schemes, agreement in results was moderate (mean ± SE weighted κ, 0.56 ± 0.05), and the correlation was strong (ρ = 0.73).


Results indicated that the MRI-based and macroscopic observation-based grading schemes used in the present study could be used reliably for classifying IVD degeneration in cats.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To characterize delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) features of healthy hyaline cartilage of the distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ) of horses, to determine whether dGEMRIC can be used to differentiate various stages of naturally occurring osteoarthritis of the DIPJ, and to correlate relaxation times determined by dGEMRIC with the glycosaminoglycan concentration, water content, and macroscopic and histologic findings of hyaline cartilage of DIPJs with and without osteoarthritis.

SAMPLE 1 cadaveric forelimb DIPJ from each of 12 adult warmblood horses.

PROCEDURES T1-weighted cartilage relaxation times were obtained for predetermined sites of the DIPJ before (T1preGd) and after (T1postGd) intra-articular gadolinium administration. Corresponding cartilage sites underwent macroscopic, histologic, and immunohistochemical evaluation, and cartilage glycosaminoglycan concentration and water content were determined. Median T1preGd and T1postGd were correlated with macroscopic, histologic, and biochemical data. Mixed generalized linear models were created to evaluate the effects of cartilage site, articular surface, and macroscopic and histologic scores on relaxation times.

RESULTS 122 cartilage specimens were analyzed. Median T1postGd was lower than the median T1preGd for normal and diseased cartilage. Both T1preGd and T1postGd were correlated with macroscopic and histologic scores, whereby T1preGd increased and T1postGd decreased as osteoarthritis progressed. There was topographic variation of T1preGd and T1postGd within the DIPJ. Cartilage glycosaminoglycan concentration and water content were significantly correlated with T1preGd and macroscopic and histologic scores but were not correlated with T1postGd.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that dGEMRIC relaxation times varied for DIPJs with various degrees of osteoarthritis. These findings may help facilitate early detection of osteoarthritis.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research