OBJECTIVE: The purpose of our study was (1) to determine whether four-view radiography of the pelvis is as reliable and accurate as computed tomography (CT) in diagnosing sacral and pelvic fractures, in addition to coxofemoral and sacroiliac joint subluxation or luxation, and (2) to evaluate the effect of the amount of training in reading diagnostic imaging studies on the accuracy of diagnosing sacral and pelvic fractures in dogs.
METHODS: Sacral and pelvic fractures were created in 11 canine cadavers using a lateral impactor. In all cadavers, frog-legged ventro-dorsal, lateral, right and left ventro-45°-medial to dorsolateral oblique frog leg ("rollover 45-degree view") radiographs and a CT of the pelvis were obtained. Two radiologists, two surgeons and two veterinary students classified fractures using a confidence scale and noted the duration of evaluation for each imaging modality and case. The imaging results were compared to gross dissection.
RESULTS: All evaluators required significantly more time to analyse CT images compared to radiographic images. Sacral and pelvic fractures, specifically those of the sacral body, ischiatic table, and the pubic bone, were more accurately diagnosed using CT compared to radiography. Fractures of the acetabulum and iliac body were diagnosed with similar accuracy (at least 86%) using either modality.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Computed tomography is a better method for detecting canine sacral and some pelvic fractures compared to radiography. Computed tomography provided an accuracy of close to 100% in persons trained in evaluating CT images.