Magnetic Resonance Imaging Features Of Empty Sella In Dogs

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Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2008;49:339-342.

In humans, the empty sella is defined as herniation of the subarachnoidal space into the sella turcica with invisible (total empty sella) or reduced (partial empty sella) hypophyseal size. An empty sella can be associated with endocrine disturbances. The purpose of this study was to determine if the empty sella exists in dogs or cats and whether it is associated with endocrinopathy or hydrocephalus. Archived magnetic resonance images of the head of 370 dogs and 77 cats were re-evaluated specifically for the presence or absence of the pituitary gland. Hypophyseal tissue filling more than 50% of the sella was considered normal, between 30% and 50% was defined as partial empty sella and less than 30% was defined as total empty sella. In patients with an empty sella, and in all other imaged dogs of the affected breeds, the ventricle to brain ratio was measured. In patients with an empty sella, the medical record was searched for evidence of endocrinopathy. No cat had an empty sella but 11 dogs (3%) had a small or missing hypophysis. Seven of these dogs had a ventricle to brain ratio greater than 15%. Only small dogs (mean weight of 6.7†kg) were affected. One dog with an empty sella had signs of central hyperadrenocorticism while the other 10 had no sign of endocrinopathy. We conclude that the empty sella exists in dogs but is not generally associated with endocrinopathy.