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Keywords:

  • equine;
  • neoplasia;
  • MRI;
  • sinus;
  • upper airway

Diseases of paranasal sinuses and nasal passages in horses can be a diagnostic challenge because of the complex anatomy of the head and limitations of many diagnostic modalities. Our hypothesis was that magnetic resonance (MR) imaging would provide excellent anatomical detail and soft tissue resolution, and would be accurate in the diagnosis of diseases of the paranasal sinuses and nasal passages in horses. Fourteen horses were imaged. Inclusion criteria were lesions located to the sinuses or nasal passages that underwent MR imaging and subsequent surgical intervention and/or histopathologic examination. A low field, 0.3 tesla open magnet was used. Sequences in the standard protocol were fast spin echo T2 sagittal and transverse, spin echo T1 transverse, short-tau inversion recovery (STIR) dorsal, gradient echo 3D T1 MPR dorsal (plain and contrast enhanced), spin echo T1 fatsat (contrast enhanced). Mean scan time to complete the examination was 53 min (range 39–99 min). Lesions identified were primary or secondary sinusitis (six horses), paranasal sinus cyst (four horses), progressive ethmoid hematoma (two horses), and neoplasia (two horses). The most useful sequences were fast spin echo T2 transverse and sagittal, STIR dorsal and FE3D MPR (survey and contrast enhanced). Fluid accumulation, mucosal thickening, presence of encapsulated contents, bone deformation, and thickening were common findings observed in MR imaging. In selected horses, magnetic resonance imaging is a useful tool in diagnosing lesions of the paranasal sinuses and nasal passages.