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Equine cervical intervertebral disc degeneration is associated with location and MRI features

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Morphology of the equine cervical intervertebral disc is different from that in humans and small companion animals and published imaging data are scarcely available. The objectives of this exploratory, methods comparison study were (a) to describe MRI features of macroscopically nondegenerated and degenerated intervertebral discs (b) to test associations between spinal location and macroscopic degeneration or MRI-detected annular protrusion and between MRI-detected annular protrusion and macroscopic degeneration, and (c) to define MRI sequences for characterizing equine cervical intervertebral disc degeneration. Ex vivo MRI of intervertebral discs was performed in 11 horses with clinical signs related to the cervical region prior to macroscopic assessment. Mixed-effect logistic regression modeling included spinal location, MRI-detected annular protrusion, and presence of macroscopic degeneration with "horse" as random effect. Odds ratio and 95% confidence interval were determined. Reduced signal intensity in proton density turbo SE represented intervertebral disc degeneration. Signal voids due to presence of gas and/or hemorrhage were seen in gradient echo sequences. Presence of macroscopic intervertebral disc degeneration was significantly associated with spinal location with odds being higher in the caudal (C5 to T1) versus cranial (C2 to C5) part of the cervical vertebral column. Intervertebral discs with MRI-detected annular protrusion grades 2-4 did have higher odds than with grade 1 to have macroscopic degeneration. It was concluded that MRI findings corresponded well with gross macroscopic data. Magnetic resonance imaging of the equine cervical intervertebral disc seems to be a promising technique, but its potential clinical value for live horses needs to be explored further in a larger and more diverse population of horses.
Journal: Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
ISSN: 1058-8183
Issue: 6
Volume: 60
Pages: 696 - 706
Publication year:2019