Magnetic resonance imaging findings of spinal intramedullary spirocercosis Academic Article uri icon


  • Spirocerca lupi is a nematode infecting dogs in tropical and subtropical areas. Aberrant S. lupi migration to different body organs, including the spinal cord, has been documented. To date, the diagnosis of aberrant spinal cord migration was made at post-mortem examination or as an incidental finding, during spinal surgery. We describe two dogs with acute asymmetric paraparesis that were subsequently diagnosed with spinal cord spirocercosis. In magnetic resonance (MR) images of the spine, T2 hyperintense lesions were seen in the spinal cord of both dogs. The lesions appeared isointense on T1-weighted images and focal enhancement was detected after gadolinium administration. The MR imaging findings were compatible with focal inflammation, presumably along the parasite migration tract. Gross and microscopic pathologic findings confirmed the diagnosis of aberrant spinal intramedullary migration of S. lupi in one dog, and in the other dog, the clinical and imaging findings were supportive of this diagnosis.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008