This multicentric retrospective study describes the clinical and MRI features and pathological studies of spinal lymphoma in 27 cats. MRI characteristics and their possible correlations with histopathological findings were studied.
The most frequent neurological signs were rapidly progressive paraparesis (62.9%) or paraplegia (22.2%). Bimodal age distribution was found with 40.7% of cats aged ≤2.5 years (63.6% of them FeLV positive), and 44.4% of cats aged ≥8 years (16.7% of them FeLV positive). Spinal lymphoma was generally presented on MRI as an ill-defined epidural focal lesion with moderate to severe spinal cord compression, expanding more than one vertebral body. MRI lesions were typically localized in the lumbar vertebral segment (p = 0.01), circumferential to the spinal cord (p = 0.04), hyperintense on T2-weighted sequences (p = 4.3e-06), and isointense on T1-weighted sequences (p = 8.9e-07). The degree and pattern of contrast enhancement were variable. When follow-up MRI studies (n = 4) were performed after treatment new lesions of similar nature but different localizations and extension were observed. Antemortem diagnosis was achieved in 22/27 (81.5%) cats. The presence of necrosis in histopathological studies as an unfavorable prognostic indicator of survival was significantly more probable when lesions were not hyperintense on T2-weighted sequences (p = 0.017).
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