Computed tomographic appearance of canine tonsillar neoplasia: 14 cases

Thierry F, Longo M, Pecceu E, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2018;59:54-63.

The palatine tonsil is an uncommon site of oral canine neoplasia. For affected tonsils, squamous cell carcinoma is the most frequent type of neoplasia, followed by melanoma and lymphoma. Computed tomography (CT) is increasingly used for investigation of canine oropharyngeal pathology; however, limited information is available on the CT appearance of tonsillar neoplasms. Objectives of this retrospective descriptive case series were to characterize the CT features of canine tonsillar neoplasia and determine whether specific CT features differentiate nonneoplastic from neoplastic tonsils. Computed tomographic studies of 14 dogs diagnosed with tonsillar neoplasia were retrieved from two referral hospitals and reviewed by two observers. Diagnosis was based on histology or cytology. Carcinoma was diagnosed in 11 dogs, melanoma in two and lymphoma in one dog. Specific CT features of the tonsil and regional lymph nodes did not differentiate neoplastic from nonneoplastic tonsillar diseases, but regional lymph node CT features were useful for diagnosis in some cases. Marked enlargement (width ≥ 18 mm, 12/18), heterogeneity (16/18), and loss of the hypoattenuating hilus (18/18) of the medial retropharyngeal lymph node were common concomitant features of tonsillar neoplasia. The medial retropharyngeal and mandibular lymphadenomegaly was ipsilateral to the neoplastic tonsil in 8/12 and 6/9 dogs, respectively. Five dogs demonstrated little or no enlargement of the tonsil despite the associated metastatic lymphadenomegaly. Tonsillar neoplasia should therefore be considered as a differential diagnosis for dogs with CT evidence of isolated medial retropharyngeal lymphadenomegaly (regardless of normally sized tonsils), or of any enlarged tonsil with no associated lymphadenomegaly.