Vertebral venous system abnormalities identified with magnetic resonance imaging in sighthounds

Vernon JC, Durand A, Guevar J, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2017;58:399-410.

In humans, abnormalities of the vertebral venous system are considered rare but significant causes of radiculopathy and myelopathy. Published information on abnormalities of the canine vertebral venous system is currently lacking. Aims of this retrospective descriptive study were to characterize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities of the vertebral venous system in a population of sighthounds, report prevalence of vertebral venous system abnormalities within that population and explore possible clinical significance. Our hospital database was searched over the period of 2002–2013 for sighthounds with MRI studies of the vertebral column. Medical records and MRI studies for included dogs were retrieved and findings were recorded by a single observer. A total of 92 sighthounds were sampled. Eleven cases (prevalence 12%) showed abnormal enlargement of the internal vertebral venous plexus (10/11 unilaterally, 1/11 bilaterally), external vertebral venous plexus (7/11 cases unilaterally), and/or intervertebral veins (8/11 unilaterally, 2/11 bilaterally, and 1/11 unilaterally and bilaterally at different sites). The majority of the abnormalities were right sided and the most common location for abnormalities was C6/7. Of the 11 cases, nine did not have a definitive diagnosis. Seven of those nine cases had an abnormality in a neuroanatomical localization that could wholly or partly explain the clinical signs. Findings indicated that, while the prevalence of vertebral venous system abnormalities was low in this sample of sighthounds, the majority of dogs with these abnormalities had clinical signs that matched the location of the abnormalities. Further prospective research is needed to investigate potential underlying aetiologies for vertebral venous system abnormalities in dogs and clarify their clinical significance.