Correlative imaging findings in seven dogs and one cat with spinal arachnoid cysts

Galloway AM, Curtis NC, Sommerlad SF, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1999;40:445-452.

Information regarding 7 dogs and 1 cat with a spinal arachnoid cyst is presented. All patients were evaluated with survey radiographs and myelography. Computed tomography (CT) following myelography, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and sonography, were used in some of the patients. These imaging techniques were evaluated to determine their efficacy in diagnosing arachnoid cysts, ascertaining the extent and internal cyst architecture and detecting associated spinal cord abnormalities. Survey radiographs were nondiagnostic in all patients. Myelographically, the arachnoid cyst was visible in all patients, with partial blockage to flow of contrast medium. CT provided additional information on localization and lateralization of the cyst, and allowed measurement of the degree of spinal cord compression. MR imaging enabled identification of an associated syringomyelia. Sonography was useful for defining the cyst wall and characterizing the internal architecture of the cyst cavity and adjacent spinal cord. Measurements of the degree of spinal cord compression could be made and were similar to measurements made from CT. Additionally, sonography was considered a useful technique for orientating the surgeon to the location and extent of the cyst. In the absence of the availability of CT or MR imaging for evaluating patients with an arachnoid cyst, sonography is considered a valuable technique for directly assessing the spinal cord for associated disease. Decompressive surgery was performed on 4 dogs and 1 cat, all with successful outcomes.