Fenn J, Drees R, Volk HA, et al.
Ischemic myelopathy (IM) and acute noncompressive nucleus pulposus extrusion (ANNPE) are common spinal emergencies in dogs with similar clinical presentations. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) criteria for a presumptive antemortem diagnosis have been reported, however inter- and intraobserver agreement for use of these criteria has not been established. The aim of this retrospective, descriptive, cross-sectional study was to describe inter- and intraobserver agreement for using previously published MRI criteria to diagnose presumptive IM and ANNPE in a sample dogs. Dogs with a presumptive diagnosis of IM or ANNPE and available MRI scan data were retrieved from medical record archives during the period of 2009 and 2013. A total of 127 dogs were identified. From this sample, MRI scans for 60 dogs were randomly selected and duplicated for intraobserver analysis, giving a total of 187 anonymized studies that were presented to two blinded assessors (one board-certified veterinary neurologist, one board-certified veterinary radiologist). Assessors were asked to diagnose lesions as IM or ANNPE based on previously published MRI characteristics. Interobserver agreement in diagnosing IM or ANNPE was moderate (Kappa = 0.56) and intraobserver agreement was moderate to good (Assessor 1 Kappa = 0.79, Assessor 2 Kappa = 0.47). Agreement was strongest for detecting presence of lesions overlying a vertebral body (94% of lesions that were diagnosed as IM) or overlying an intervertebral disk (85% of lesions that were diagnosed as ANNPE). Findings indicated that use of previously published MRI criteria yields moderate inter- and moderate to good intraobserver agreement for a presumptive diagnosis of IM or ANNPE in dogs.