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Keywords:

  • arthrography;
  • CT;
  • canine;
  • shoulder

Soft tissue injuries of the shoulder are an important cause of forelimb lameness in dogs. The objectives of this canine cadaver study were to describe normal anatomy of shoulder soft tissue structures using computed tomography (CT) and computed tomographic arthrography (CTA) and to determine the effects of positioning on visualization of shoulder soft tissue structures. Thirteen forelimbs were removed from eight canine cadavers. Two forelimbs were used for contrast dose optimization. For the remaining 11 forelimbs, shoulder CT and CTA were performed using three defined joint angles (140°, 90°, and 70°). For three forelimbs, CT and CTA images were compared with frozen anatomic sections to describe normal anatomy. Ten forelimbs were used for analysis of positioning effects. Soft tissue structures evaluated were the joint capsule, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. A visual assessment score was assigned to each structure using a consensus of two observers. The range and mode of scores were calculated and compared for each modality and limb position. The shoulder joint capsule and medial and lateral glenohumeral ligaments were completely visible with CTA. All tendons and muscles were visualized in all the examinations except for the teres minor muscle tendon and the coracobrachialis muscle, which were not visible on all scans. Positioning the limb in an extended position significantly improved visualization of most soft tissue shoulder structures. Shoulder cartilage was best seen with CTA and with neutral or flexed positioning of the shoulder. Findings indicated that both CT and CTA are feasible imaging techniques for visualization of soft tissue structures of the canine shoulder.