Evaluation of osseous-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy in dogs using kinematic magnetic resonance imaging

Provencher M, Habing A, Moore SA, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2017;58:411-421.

Osseous-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy in dogs is characterized by both static and dynamic spinal cord compression; however, standard MRI methods only assess static compression. In humans with cervical spondylotic myelopathy, kinematic MRI is commonly used to diagnose dynamic spinal cord compressions. The purpose of this prospective, analytical study was to evaluate kinematic MRI as a method for characterizing the dynamic component of osseous-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy in dogs. We hypothesized that kinematic MRI would allow visualization of spinal cord compressions that were not identified with standard imaging. Twelve client-owned dogs with osseous-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy were enrolled. After standard MRI confirmed a diagnosis of osseous-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy, a positioning device was used to perform additional MRI sequences with the cervical vertebral column flexed and extended. Morphologic and morphometric (spinal cord height, intervertebral disc width, spinal cord width, vertebral canal height, and spinal cord area) assessments were recorded for images acquired with neutral, flexion, and extension imaging. A total of 25 compressions were seen with neutral positioning, while extension identified 32 compressions. There was a significant association between extension positioning and presence of a compressive lesion at C4-C5 (p = 0.02). Extension was also associated with a change in the most severe site of compression in four out of 12 (33%) dogs. None of the patients deteriorated neurologically after kinematic imaging. We concluded that kinematic MRI is a feasible method for evaluating dogs with osseous-associated cervical spondylomyelopathy, and can reveal new compressions not seen with neutral positioning.