Scientific Journal

Scientific Journal of the Hellenic Companion Animal Veterinary Society (HCAVS)


Magnetic resonance imaging findings in canine brain atrophy

Chrysanthakopoulou F. DVM, Alphavet, Athens
Roumelioti S. DVM, ISVPS GpCert (US), Alphavet, Athens
Panopoulos I. DVM, PhD, Dip. ECVDI, EBVS Specialist, Alphavet, Athens


The aim of the present study is to report the MRI findings of brain atrophy in three canine patients presented in the veterinary clinic and the introduction of a descriptive term. The canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is the canine analog of human Alzheimer disease (AD) and the pathophysiology of CCD is multifaceted.

Clinical cases

Apparent confusion, seizures, anxiety, disturbance of the sleep/wake cycle and decreased interaction with owners were referred in the history. The mean age of the three patients was 10 years old.


The imaging diagnostic features in the three patients were the well-demarcated sulci, ventricular enlargement, the reduction of interthalamic adhesion (<5 mm), multifocal cerebral hemorrhages and leukoaraiosis. Leukoaraiosis is a descriptive term used to designate bilateral, symmetrical, white matter lesions identified in brains of elderly canine patients and was showed in all patients. The lesions are isointense to normal on T1-weighted pulse sequences, non-contrast enhancing, and hyperintense in T2-weighted and FLAIR pulse sequences. The pathophysiology of leukoaraiosis is still unknown but seems to be correlated with vascular damage.


The magnetic resonance of the brain is the key tool for the diagnosis and crucial for geriatric dog patients presented with central neurological symptoms. Leukoaraiosis must be considered as an additional finding of brain atrophy in geriatric canine patients.


  • Scarpante E, Cherubini GB, de Stefani A, Taeymans O (2017) Magnetic resonance imaging features of leukoaraiosis in elderly dogs. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 58(4), 389-398.
  • Silke Hecht and Amy Hodshon (2018) Aging changes of the brain In: Diagnostic MRI in Dogs and Cats. Ed. Wilfried Mai,1st edition, CRC Press, pp.320-323.
  • Packer RMA, McGreevy PD, Salvin HE,Valenzuela MJ, Chaplin CM, Volk HA (2018) Cognitive dysfunction in naturally occurring canine idiopathic epilepsy. PLoS ONE 13(2)

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