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Development of a Morphometric Magnetic Resonance Image Parameter Suitable for Distinguishing between Normal Dogs and Dogs with Cerebellar Atrophy

Thames R.A., Robertson I.D., Flegel T., et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound, 2010. 51(3): p.246-53.

Neurodegenerative diseases affect the cerebellum of numerous dog breeds. Although subjective, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been used to detect cerebellar atrophy in these diseases, but there are few data available on the normal size range of the cerebellum relative to other brain regions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the size of the cerebellum maintains a consistent ratio with other brain regions in different ages and breeds of normal dogs and to define a measurement that can be used to identify cerebellar atrophy on MR images. Images from 52 normal and 13 dogs with cerebellar degenerative diseases were obtained. Volume and mid-sagittal cross-sectional area of the forebrain, brainstem, and cerebellum were calculated for each normal dog and compared between different breeds and ages as absolute and relative values. The ratio of the cerebellum to total brain and of the brainstem to cerebellum mid-sagittal cross-sectional area was compared between normal and affected dogs and the sensitivity and specificity of these ratios at distinguishing normal from affected dogs was calculated. The percentage of the brain occupied by the cerebellum in diverse dog breeds between 1 and 5 years of age was not significantly different, and cerebellar size did not change with increasing age. Using a cut off of 89%, the ratio between the brainstem and cerebellum mid-sagittal cross-sectional area could be used successfully to differentiate affected from unaffected dogs with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%, making this ratio an effective tool for identifying cerebellar atrophy on MR images.