• axons;
  • canine;
  • DTI;
  • MRI;
  • spinal cord

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a specialized magnetic resonance sequence to determine the direction of water molecule motion. Our hypothesis was that information derived from DTI will be significantly different in dogs with a spinal cord lesion compared with a normal dog. Eleven normal dogs and six dogs with a spinal cord lesions were imaged. DTI was performed along with standard T1- and T2-weighted sequences in transverse and sagittal planes. Fractional anisotrophy and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were obtained using regions of interests centered on the cranial aspect, middle cranial, middle caudal, and caudal aspects of the spinal cord. In normal dogs, the DTI sequence was characterized by normal fiber tracking with no statistical difference between the four sections of spinal cord (P>0.05). In the dogs with a spinal cord lesion, there was a significant difference in fractional anisotropy between the two groups (P=0.0003) and the ADC analysis statistical significance (P=0.048) at the caudal most site. Based on these findings, DTI is a potentially useful method to evaluate the spinal cord in dogs.