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Keywords:

  • canine elbow;
  • cartilage;
  • dGEMRIC;
  • interobserver variability;
  • intraobserver variability;
  • T2 mapping

Commonly used diagnostic tools used to evaluate articular cartilage lack the sensitivity, specificity, and objectivity to measure early changes associated with osteoarthritis. Two techniques using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging have been developed to detect the biology of articular cartilage are delayed gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging of cartilage (dGEMRIC) and T2 mapping. Both techniques have been validated and are used to study the degenerative and adaptive nature of articular cartilage in people. The use of these techniques as a diagnostic tool in dogs has not been well described. We evaluated articular cartilage in the region of the medial coronoid process (MCP) of six healthy dogs free of detectable orthopedic disease using both MR imaging techniques. Histology and proteoglycan (PG) content of the MCP were used to confirm normal articular cartilage. All dogs had ground reaction forces consistent with normal function. Mean dGEMRIC index (T1 value) was 400 ± 47 ms and mean T2 value was 56 ± 8 ms. Intra- and interobserver variability was low. dGEMRIC and T2 values for normal cartilage in the elbow of the dog can be generated reproducibly using 3TMR imaging. Using these techniques as objective outcome measures for clinical studies in dogs with OA conditions should help delineate the efficacy of some disease interventions.