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Keywords:

  • Canine;
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolization;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging;
  • Spinal infarct

Background: The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of ischemic myelopathy have been described in the human literature and in a small number of cases in the veterinary literature.

Hypothesis: The aims of this study were to identify associations among MRI findings, timing of imaging, and presenting neurologic deficits in a large series of dogs with a presumptive diagnosis of ischemic myelopathy.

Animals and Methods: The medical records and MR images of dogs with a presumptive diagnosis of ischemic myelopathy (2000–2006) were reviewed retrospectively. Inclusion criteria were acute onset of nonprogressive and nonpainful myelopathy, 1.5-tesla MRI of the spine performed within 7 days of onset, and complete medical records and follow-up information. Presumptive diagnosis was based on history, as well as clinical, MRI, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings. The extent of the lesion on MRI was assessed as the following: (1) the ratio between the length of the hyperintense area on sagittal T2-weighted images and the length of C6 or L2 vertebral body, and (2) the maximal cross-sectional area of the hyperintense area on transverse T2-weighted images as a percentage of cross-sectional area of the spinal cord.

Results: Fifty-two dogs met the inclusion criteria. MRI findings were abnormal in 41 dogs and normal in 11 dogs. The presence of MRI abnormalities was not significantly associated with the timing of imaging (P= .3) but was associated with ambulatory status on presentation (P= .04). Severity of signs on presentation was associated with extent of the lesion on MRI (P= .02).

Conclusion and Clinical Importance: The severity of signs on presentation is associated with the presence and the extent of the lesion on MRI.