Classification of canine intervertebral disc degeneration using high-field magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography.

Harder L, Ludwig D, Galindo-Zamora V, et al.

Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere 2014;42.

Objective: Although the classification of canine intervertebral disc degeneration using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been described in the literature, there is no such classification using computed tomographic imaging. Because computed tomography (CT) is a frequently used diagnostic imaging tool in veterinary medicine, the aim of this study was the introduction and validation of such a scoring system. T2-weighted magnetic resonance images were available for comparative analysis. Material and methods: A total of 43 dogs were examined using CT and MRI. Image data records of 144 intervertebral discs were blinded, randomized and evaluated twice by three observers. CT data were analyzed using a self-developed scoring system, while MRI data sets were evaluated using the Pfirrmann scoring system. Intra- and interobserver agreement were determined using Statistical Analysis Software (SAS). Results: Intra- and interobserver agreement were mostly substantial in the Pfirrmann (0.58-0.77) and self-developed (0.60-0.81) scoring systems. A slight agreement was found between both classification systems (kappa scores 0.26-0.29). Conclusion and clinical relevance: The self-developed scoring system allows a reliable assessment of canine intervertebral disc degeneration using CT imaging. Therefore, further diagnostic and prognostic information can be obtained. Degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs could be identified at an earlier stage when using MRI in comparison with CT.