The Relative Sensitivity Of Computed Tomography And Myelography For Identification Of Thoracolumbar Intervertebral Disk Herniations In Dogs


Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2009;50:247-252.

We compared the relative sensitivity of computed tomography (CT) and myelography for identification of disk herniation in dogs. Criteria for patient selection included presurgical CT, myelography, or both and surgical or necropsy confirmation of disk herniation between the T3 and L6 vertebral articulations. Imaging findings were described as positive or inconclusive. Adverse events such as hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, death, and lower urinary tract infection were compared between imaging groups. One hundred and eighty-two dogs met the inclusion criteria, with 116 dogs having myelography performed as the initial diagnostic imaging modality and 66 dogs having CT performed as the initial modality. The relative sensitivity for locating the site of disk herniation was 83.6% when myelography was the first test performed and 81.8% when CT was the first test performed. CT was more sensitive than myelography at detecting lesions in chronically affected dogs (P=0.025). Myelography was more sensitive than CT at detecting lesions in smaller dogs ( <  5kg; P=0.004). Dogs that received both imaging modalities were significantly more likely to die or be euthanized compared with myelography alone (P < 0.001). Both myelography and CT are reasonable diagnostic imaging modalities for locating the site of disk herniation. CT should be considered especially in heavier, more chronically affected dogs. The major limitations of this study include lack of randomization to imaging modality and the use of surgical exploration or necropsy as the gold standard.