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Evaluation of intervertebral disk degeneration in chondrodystrophic and nonchondrodystrophic dogs by use of Pfirrmann grading of images obtained with low-field magnetic resonance imaging

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 3 Division of Diagnostic Imaging, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • | 5 Division of Diagnostic Imaging, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 7 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden.
  • | 8 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • | 9 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract

Objective—To assess whether the Pfirrmann system for grading lumbar intervertebral disk (IVD) degeneration in humans can also be used in dogs.

Animals—202 dogs.

Procedures—Magnetic resonance imaging was used to obtain images of vertebral segments from dogs, which were reviewed separately by 3 observers who graded the extent of degeneration in each visible IVD by use of the Pfirrmann classification system used for grading lumbar IVD degeneration in humans. Grading was validated against 2 factors associated with the extent of disk degeneration: type of dog (chondrodystrophic or nonchondrodystrophic breeds) and age.

Results—Interobserver and intraobserver agreement for Pfirrmann grading of IVD degeneration were good (κ scores, 0.81 to 0.93). An increase in the extent of disk degeneration was positively correlated with increases in age and with chondrodystrophic breed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The Pfirrmann system was reliably used to grade IVD degeneration in dogs of various breeds and ages. An increase in the extent of IVD degeneration was positively correlated with increases in age and with chondrodystrophic-type dogs.

Abstract

Objective—To assess whether the Pfirrmann system for grading lumbar intervertebral disk (IVD) degeneration in humans can also be used in dogs.

Animals—202 dogs.

Procedures—Magnetic resonance imaging was used to obtain images of vertebral segments from dogs, which were reviewed separately by 3 observers who graded the extent of degeneration in each visible IVD by use of the Pfirrmann classification system used for grading lumbar IVD degeneration in humans. Grading was validated against 2 factors associated with the extent of disk degeneration: type of dog (chondrodystrophic or nonchondrodystrophic breeds) and age.

Results—Interobserver and intraobserver agreement for Pfirrmann grading of IVD degeneration were good (κ scores, 0.81 to 0.93). An increase in the extent of disk degeneration was positively correlated with increases in age and with chondrodystrophic breed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The Pfirrmann system was reliably used to grade IVD degeneration in dogs of various breeds and ages. An increase in the extent of IVD degeneration was positively correlated with increases in age and with chondrodystrophic-type dogs.

Contributor Notes

Presented as a poster at the Dutch National Veterinary Conference, Amsterdam, April 2009.

The authors thank Hans Vernooij for assistance with the statistical analysis.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bergknut (n.bergknut@uu.nl).