Comparison Between Clinical, Ultrasound, CT, MRI, And Pathology Findings In Dogs Presented For Suspected Thyroid Carcinoma

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Taeymans O, Penninck DG, Peters RM.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2013;54:61-70.

This study compares clinical, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and pathology findings in 16 prospectively, and seven retrospectively recruited dogs presented for suspected thyroid carcinoma. Of these, 17 were confirmed thyroid carcinoma, while six were initially misdiagnosed. These included four carotid body tumors, one para-esophageal abscess, and one undifferentiated squamous cell carcinoma. Thyroid carcinomas occurred in older dogs without evidence of sex predilection, and were more often unilateral. All were large, heterogeneous, moderately to strongly vascularized, and most commonly contained areas of dystrophic mineralization and/or fluid accumulations. On MRI, thyroid carcinomas appeared hyperintense compared to surrounding musculature in all imaging sequences used, while on CT they had a lower attenuation value than normal thyroid gland tissue. Histologically confirmed tumor capsule disruption with invasion of the surrounding structures was most commonly detected with MRI. Palpation was not an accurate predictor of locally invasive vs. well-encapsulated masses. Computed tomography had the highest specificity (100%) and MRI had the highest sensitivity (93%) in diagnosing thyroid carcinoma, while ultrasound had considerably lower results. We conclude that ultrasound is adequate for use as a screening tool for dogs with suspected thyroid carcinoma, but recommend either CT or MRI for preoperative diagnosis and staging.