Objective—To determine whether magnetic resonance imaging findings in dogs with paraplegia caused by thoracolumbar intervertebral disk extrusion were predictive of clinical outcome.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Procedure—Medical records and magnetic resonance images were reviewed; clinical outcome was classified as successful (regained ability to walk with no more than mild neurologic deficits) or unsuccessful (severe neurologic deficits persisted). The prognostic value of magnetic resonance imaging was compared with prognostic value of deep pain perception, duration of clinical signs, and rate of onset of clinical signs.
Result—33 (43%) dogs had areas of hyperintensity of the spinal cord greater than or equal to the length of the L2 vertebral body on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images. All 44 dogs without areas of hyperintensity on T2-weighted images had a successful outcome, but only 18 of the 33 (55%) dogs with an area of hyperintensity did. Only 5 of 16 dogs with an area of hyperintensity that had also lost deep pain perception had a successful outcome. The odds ratio for an unsuccessful outcome for a dog with an area of hyperintensity (29.87) was higher than the odds ratio for a dog that had lost deep pain perception (5.24). Duration and rate of onset of clinical signs were not associated with clinical outcome.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that results of magnetic resonance imaging can be used to predict clinical outcome in dogs with paraplegia caused by intervertebral disk extrusion. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1454–1460)