Comparison of radiography and magnetic resonance imaging for evaluating the extent of nasal neoplasia in dogs

Petite AF, Dennis R.

J Small Anim Pract 2006;47:529-536.

OBJECTIVES: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is increasingly used in veterinary practice and, in some centres, is part of the diagnostic work-up of small animals with nasal disease. However, there are no published studies which critically evaluate the use of magnetic resonance imaging for this purpose. The purpose of this work was to assess the changes seen using magnetic resonance imaging and to compare them with radiography. METHODS: The study included 12 dogs that had undergone both radiography and magnetic resonance imaging of the nasal cavity and had a histopathological diagnosis of malignant nasal neoplasia. Two pairs of board-certified radiologists scored the radiographs and the MRI scans, evaluating 10 signs of abnormality using a simple scoring system. Magnetic resonance imaging features were described in detail, and radiographic and magnetic resonance imaging scores for each sign as well as total scores were compared. RESULTS: Magnetic resonance imaging often showed that the tumour was more extensive than it had appeared on radiography but occasionally showed that radiographs had overestimated its size. Although radiography was reliable for assessment of the presence and size of a mass and for the extent of turbinate destruction, it usually failed to show occlusion of the major airway passages that were evident on magnetic resonance imaging. Extension of the tumour into the opposite nasal cavity, frontal sinus, orbit and cranial cavity was shown much better on magnetic resonance imaging. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Minor but significant extension beyond the nasal cavity, which is important for treatment planning and prognosis, requires magnetic resonance imaging for demonstration, although radiography shows major changes reliably.