• brain disease;
  • cat;
  • dog;
  • fluid-attenuated inversion recovery;
  • magnetic resonance imaging

To compare fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in small animal patients with suspected brain disease, paired sets of FLAIR and T2-weighted MR images of 116 dogs and cats were reviewed separately without any patient information. Images were rated as normal or abnormal using a five-point scale, and the distribution, signal intensity, and anatomic location of abnormalities were recorded. In 60 animals, both FLAIR and T2-weighted images were normal. In 50 animals, the same abnormalities were identified in both FLAIR and T2-weighted images. Overall, very good agreement was found between FLAIR and T2-weighted MR images (κ=0.88). FLAIR images had abnormalities that were not recognized in the corresponding T2-weighted images in six of 116 examinations (5%). In four of these, the abnormalities in FLAIR images were thought to represent pathology, including granulomatous meningoencephalitis in one dog, postictal edema in one dog, and undiagnosed lesions in two dogs. In the remaining two examinations, the abnormalities in FLAIR images were probably artifacts. No examples were found of intracranial abnormalities in T2-weighted images that were not visible in FLAIR images. In this study, acquiring FLAIR images in addition to T2-weighted images resulted in detection of otherwise occult abnormalities in relatively few patients.