MRI best tool for studying intricate nerves in dogs

11/21/05

Nov. 22, 2005 - A recent study in the journal Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound presents the first description of the anatomy of a dog's cranial nerves (CN), a once difficult procedure now made possible by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a diagnostic modality.

"By knowing the normal MRI anatomy of cranial nerve emergences in the dog, the clinician will better recognize lesions affecting those nerves, such as inflammatory or neoplastic diseases, thus allowing earlier recognition of the disease," states lead researcher Laurent Couturier.

Twenty-two MRI brain studies of various dog breeds were reviewed to determine which CNs could be seen using MRI and then to assess the origins of those nerves and associated small openings in the skull. Additionally, a computed tomography study of a separate, isolated skull was performed to determine CN exit. This facilitated recognition of the course of CNs when exiting the skull on MRI images.

"Cranial nerves are difficult to identify because of their small size and their specific course through bony structures," say researchers. "As cranial nerves are small and thin structures of the nervous system, a really precise imaging modality had to be used, and only MRI could give such results on nervous tissue."

The researchers note that in addition to identifying these nerves, CN nuclei were also visible in the study. Anatomic descriptions of normal canine CN nuclei could be the focus of a future study.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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