Cervical intervertebral foraminal disc extrusion in dogs: clinical presentation, MRI characteristics and outcome after medical management

Bersan E, McConnell F, Trevail R, et al.

Vet Rec 2015;176:597.

The aim of the present study was to retrospectively evaluate the clinical signs, MRI characteristics, interobserver agreement and outcome after medical treatment in dogs affected by cervical intervertebral foraminal disc extrusion (CIFDE). The medical records of three referral institutions were searched for dogs diagnosed with CIFDE between 2010 and 2012. Thirteen dogs were identified with CIFDE; affected dogs often had a normal neurological examination, with cervical hyperaesthesia and lameness as the most common clinical signs. On MRI, sagittal images showed no evidence of compression of the spinal cord; CIFDE could be identified only on transverse sections in all cases. An excellent interobserver agreement was found in the localisation of the affected intervertebral disc space, and a substantial agreement was found on the detection of CIFDE versus foraminal stenosis caused by overgrowing articular processes. All but two dogs recovered completely, and they were considered free of clinical signs without analgesia within a median of 7.5 weeks (range: 2-20) after medical management was started. The remaining two dogs were surgically treated followed by complete recovery. In view of our findings, the importance of a thorough MRI investigation in dogs presenting with cervical hyperaesthesia as the sole clinical sign should be highlighted.