MRI as an in vivo diagnostic tool for neurological disorders in pigs

L. Dieste Pérez, T.P. Dobak, F.R. Vilaplana Grosso, W. Bergmann, T.J. Tobias

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterOther research output


    Introduction: A ±7 weeks old male pig was brought to the university clinic for teaching purposes. The piglet was anorexic, growth retarded and soporific. It
    had an uncoordinated gait, showed intermittent circling to the left, slight tremors over its body and often used its carpi for support. During the locomotion
    and neurological exams, an unclassifiable ataxia was observed as well as delayed tactile and optic placement reflexes. The neurolocalization was likely the
    central nervous system (CNS) and the differential diagnosis included traumatic, congenital, infectious, metabolic or toxic causes. In these cases, postmortem
    examination is usually the only diagnostic tool used. Diagnostic imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) could be of help
    for an in vivo diagnosis in these cases. The aim of this case report is to compare MRI findings with the gross and histologic pathomorfologic changes and to
    discuss the utility of MRI for in vivo diagnosis of CNS disorders in pigs.
    Materials and Methods: MRI examination of the neurocranium and cervical spine was performed after administration of gadoterate meglumine (Dotarem®)
    as a contrast agent with a 1.5 Tesla scanner. Sequences acquired for imaging were: transverse T1-weighted (W) turbo spin echo (TSE), T2-W TSE, T1-W
    gradient echo (GRE), fluid attenuated inversion recovery and T2* GRE (neurocranium), and T1- and T2-W TSE in transverse and sagittal planes (cervical
    spine). Subsequently, macroscopic and microscopic post mortem examination was performed.
    Results: Multifocal, symmetric, T2-W hyperintense and T1-W iso to hypointense non-contrast enhancing areas were seen in the cerebrum, thalamus, brain
    stem and cerebellum, compatible with a toxic or metabolic disorder. A diffuse and ill-defined T2-W intramedullary hyperintensity was seen within the dorsal
    half of the spinal cord from C1 until C6, compatible with oedema or myelitis. Although no macroscopic abnormalities of the neurocranium or cervical spine
    were found, histology showed a multifocal acute fibrinonecrotizing vasculitis with moderate perivascular oedema and malacia within the brain stem, mid
    brain, thalamus, hippocampus and basal ganglia, compatible with oedema disease due to Shiga-like toxin produced by E. coli.
    Conclusion: In vivo diagnostic imaging, such as MRI, is useful to narrow the diagnosis of non-inflammatory CNS disorders. In our study, the MRI results
    were compatible with a toxic or metabolic disorder, but due to the lack of references of MRI studies on pigs, histology was necessary to get a final
    Acknowledgement: Katja Bleeker for her help in this case
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event24th International Pig Veterinary Society Congress & 8th European Symposium of Porcine Health Management - Dublin, Ireland
    Duration: 7 Jun 201610 Jun 2016


    Conference24th International Pig Veterinary Society Congress & 8th European Symposium of Porcine Health Management
    Abbreviated titleIPVS / ESPHM
    Internet address


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