Thoracic and lumbar spinal cord diffusion tensor imaging in dogs.
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PURPOSE: To analyze four clinically applicable diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) protocols (two each in the transverse and sagittal planes) in the normal dog. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven healthy Dachshund dogs were scanned with four DTI protocols. Within each plane, identical spatial resolution was used while the number of diffusion-encoding directions and averages varied. Agreement of measured fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was analyzed with Bland-Altman methods, subjective image quality within each plane was compared, and FA and ADC were explored as a function of anatomic location. RESULTS: There was good agreement in FA and ADC values within each plane. FA had the smallest bias and most precision. No difference was detected in subjective image quality within each plane. FA and ADC were slightly higher cranial to the lumbar intumescence compared to within it. CONCLUSION: DTI is a promising tool in the assessment of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the study of dogs with intervertebral disk herniation as a preclinical model of human SCI.