Comparison of computed tomographic attenuation values for epaxial muscles in old and young dogs

Am J Vet Res. 2019 Feb;80(2):174-177. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.80.2.174.


OBJECTIVE To determine whether the degree of CT attenuation of muscle would differ between healthy old and young dogs. ANIMALS 10 healthy old (> 8 years old) and 9 healthy young (1 to 5 years old) Labrador Retrievers with a body condition score of 5 or 6 on a 9-point scale. PROCEDURES CT was performed with the dogs mildly sedated. A freehand closed polygon tool was used to define the outer margin of the left epaxial muscles on each transverse image obtained from the cranial to caudal endplates of T13. The CT attenuation values from every voxel from within these regions of interest were exported from DICOM software as a single dataset in an extensible markup language file. From these data, mean CT attenuation values were calculated for each dog and these mean values were compared between age groups. RESULTS Mean CT attenuation values for the epaxial muscles were significantly lower in old dogs than in young dogs. A significant negative correlation (r = -0.74) was identified between mean CT attenuation values and dog age. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE In addition to loss of skeletal muscle mass, low muscle CT attenuation values suggested that the old dogs in this study also had greater muscle fat content than did young dogs. Additional studies are warranted to evaluate qualitative and quantitative muscle changes in old dogs.

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Back / diagnostic imaging
  • Dogs / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / veterinary*