Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2020 Dec 22. doi: 10.1111/vru.12938. Online ahead of print.
A recent publication described pathological findings in the pituitary gland incidentally discovered during routine necropsies of the brain of dogs and cats; however, imaging characteristics of these lesions were not reported. Aims of this retrospective, observational study were to characterize MRI variants and incidental lesions in pituitary glands of dogs with no clinical signs of pituitary disease. Cranial MRIs from dogs with no suspicion of pituitary disease, based on history and presenting clinical signs, were retrieved from a veterinary teleradiology database during the period of January 2014 to January 2016. Images were reinterpreted by two observers and pituitary lesions were described based on consensus. A total of 580 scans were evaluated and pituitary lesions were detected in 78 dogs (13.44%). Pituitary cystic lesions were the most common finding and occurred in 31 dogs (5.34%). Of these 31 dogs, the majority (74%) were of toy or brachycephalic breed. Partial or total empty sella lesions were detected in 14 dogs (2.41%), and all of these were small or toy breeds. A significantly increased incidence of the partial empty sella lesion was found in male dogs (P = .034). Pituitary lesions greater than 1 cm occurred rarely (0.69%). There was a significant association between low-field (LF) MRI strength and detection of a partial or total empty sella lesion (P = .0112), and detection of a pituitary lesion greater than 1 cm (P = .0125). A significant difference was present between the MRI field strength (FS) that identified pituitary cysts and the FS that detected an empty sella (P = .0068), with the former being a high FS and the latter a LF strength. The findings from this study indicated that up to 13% of dogs with no presenting clinical signs of pituitary disease may have MRI pituitary lesions.