2023 article

MRI features can help to confirm a diagnosis of progressive myelomalacia, but may not be accurate in dogs lacking characteristic clinical signs at the time of imaging

Cordle, K. J., Seiler, G. S., Barnes, D., & Olby, N. J. (2023, January 20). VETERINARY RADIOLOGY & ULTRASOUND.

By: K. Cordle n, G. Seiler n, D. Barnes n & N. Olby n‚ÄČ

author keywords: ascending-descending myelomalacia; canine; intervertebral disc disease; MRI; spinal cord injury
MeSH headings : Dogs; Animals; Retrospective Studies; Case-Control Studies; Dog Diseases / diagnostic imaging; Dog Diseases / pathology; Spinal Cord Diseases / veterinary; Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging; Intervertebral Disc Displacement / veterinary; Magnetic Resonance Imaging / veterinary
Source: Web Of Science
Added: February 6, 2023

Progressive myelomalacia (PMM) is a fatal sequela of acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disc extrusion in dogs, with unpredictable onset in the days after the inciting injury. No single reliable diagnostic test is currently available. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features such as T2-weighted spinal cord hyperintensity and loss of subarachnoid signal in a half-Fourier single-shot turbo spin echo (HASTE) sequence have been associated with PMM, but are sometimes present in other dogs with severe deficits. Magnetic resonance imaging findings in 22 dogs with a clinical or histopathologic diagnosis of PMM and 38 deep pain-negative paraplegic dogs were compared in a retrospective case-control study. Length of T2-weighted hyperintense spinal cord change and HASTE signal loss were significantly associated with clinically evident PMM (P = .0019 and P = .0085), however, there were no significant differences between groups when analysis was restricted to dogs not yet showing clinical signs of PMM. The PMM group also had significantly shorter compressive lesions than the control group (P = 0.026), suggesting a possible role of more severe focal pressure at the extrusion site. A segment of total loss of contrast enhancement in the venous sinuses and meninges, a feature not previously described, was more common in the PMM group and the difference approached significance (P = 0.054). Findings show that MRI features can support the diagnosis in dogs with clinical evidence of PMM, and absence of these features supports absence of PMM at time of imaging. However, their absence does not reliably differentiate dogs with imminent progressive myelomalacia from other dogs with severe deficits following intervertebral disc extrusion.