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Head Trauma

Severe head trauma is associated with high mortality in animals. The appropriate therapy for head trauma patients remains controversial in veterinary medicine due to a lack of objective information on the treatment of dogs and cats with head injuries. Treatment of affected animals must be immediate if the animal is to recover to a level that is both functional and acceptable to the owner. Many dogs and cats can recover from severe brain injuries if systemic and neurologic abnormalities that can be treated are identified early enough.

Common causes of head injuries in cats and dogs include road traffic accidents, falls, kicks, gunshot or pellet wounds, and bites from larger animals. Traumatic injuries to the brain may result from blunt or penetrating insults; most canine head trauma results from blunt vehicular trauma, while most feline head trauma is associated with crush injury.

Drug and Syringe

Traumatic Brain Injury Management Review 2023

This article reviews the pathophysiology of head trauma, patient assessment, diagnostic testing, treatment recommendations, monitoring, and prognosis.

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The objectives of this study were to evaluate the agreement of MRI with CT in the assessment for presence or absence of acute skull fractures in a canine and feline cadaver model, compare seven different MRI sequences (T1-W, T2-W, T2-FLAIR, PD-W, T2*-W, “SPACE” and “VIBE”), and determine agreement of four different MRI readers with CT data. Pre- and post-trauma CT and MRI studies were performed on 10 canine and 10 feline cadaver heads.

Overall, there was 93.5% agreement in assessing a fracture as present or absent between MRI and CT. The agreement for the different MRI sequences with CT ranged from 92.6% (T2*-W) to 94.4% (PD-W). There was higher agreement of MRI with CT in the evaluation for fractures of the face than other anatomic regions. 

Based on these results, the authors suggest that a PD-W sequence should be added to the MR protocol when evaluating the small animal head trauma patient.

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