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  • Author or Editor: Mary Lou Norman x
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OBJECTIVE To characterize the MRI and histologic features of the supraspinatus tendon in nonlame dogs.

ANIMALS 7 cadavers (14 shoulder joints) of nonlame 2-year-old sexually intact male Beagles.

PROCEDURES Multiple MRI fluid-sensitive pulse sequences were obtained for both shoulder joints of each cadaver, and the thickness, volume, and signal intensity of each supraspinatus tendon were assessed. After MRI scanning was complete, the shoulder joints were processed for histologic examination. Tissue specimens were stained with various stains to determine tendon morphology and composition. Histologic and MRI findings were correlated and described.

RESULTS All supraspinatus tendons had a trilaminar appearance on sagittal and transverse MRI images, which was characterized by a thick, hyperintense center layer (central substance) sandwiched between thin hypointense superficial and deep margins. The mean ± SD central substance-to-superficial margin and central substance-to-deep margin thickness ratios were 8.4 ± 1.2 and 9.0 ± 0.9, respectively; supraspinatus tendon-to-triceps brachii muscle signal intensity ratio was 1.3 ± 0.2; and tendon volume was 445 ± 20 mm3. The superficial and deep margins histologically resembled other tendons with highly ordered collagen fibers. The central substance was comprised of water-rich glycosaminoglycans interspersed among haphazardly arranged collagen bundles.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated histologically normal canine supraspinatus tendons have a trilaminar appearance on MRI images. In dogs, a diagnosis of supraspinatus tendinosis should not be based solely on the tendon having a hyperintense signal on MRI images; other MRI evidence of shoulder joint disease and diagnostic findings are necessary to support such a diagnosis.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research