Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Unilateral decrease in inner ear signal in fluid-attenuated inversion recovery sequences in previously suspected canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome

The aetiology of canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome (IVS) remains unclear. In human medicine, characteristic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques are used to demonstrate differences in endolymph composition between affected and unaffected inner ears. The purpose of this study was to determine whether similar MRI techniques could help to detect changes in the inner ears of canine IVS patients. Medical records from two veterinary referral clinics were reviewed retrospectively. Dogs were included if they had a diagnosis of IVS, obvious lateralisation of clinical signs, and an MRI of the vestibular system. A region of interest (ROI) was manually outlined by defining the anatomical area of the inner ear in T2-weighted and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) images. In order to calculate the ratio of FLAIR suppression of each ear, the mean grey value of the ROI was determined in both sequences. If a unilateral decrease in suppression was identified, it was compared with the direction of clinical signs. In total, 80 dogs were included in the study. There was a significantly lower degree of suppression on the affected compared to the unaffected side (0.8886 vs. 0.9348, respectively; P = 0.0021). In 92.5% of cases, there was agreement between the most suppressed side on MRI and the direction of clinical signs. This study provides preliminary evidence about the appearance of endolymph on MRI of dogs with IVS. Further studies are needed to investigate associations between the severity of MRI changes and prognosis.

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