Computed tomographic morphometry of tympanic bulla shape and position in brachycephalic and mesaticephalic dog breeds

Mielke, B and Lam, R W and Ter Haar, G (2017) Computed tomographic morphometry of tympanic bulla shape and position in brachycephalic and mesaticephalic dog breeds. VETERINARY RADIOLOGY & ULTRASOUND, 58 (5). pp. 552-558.

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Abstract

Anatomic variations in skull morphology have been previously described for brachycephalic dogs; however there is little published information on interbreed variations in tympanic bulla morphology. This retrospective observational study aimed to (1) provide detailed descriptions of the computed tomographic (CT) morphology of tympanic bullae in a sample of dogs representing four brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, French Bulldogs, English Bulldog, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) versus two mesaticephalic breeds (Labrador retrievers and Jack Russell Terriers); and (2) test associations between tympanic bulla morphology and presence of middle ear effusion. Archived head CT scans for the above dog breeds were retrieved and a single observer measured tympanic bulla shape (width:height ratio), wall thickness, position relative to the temporomandibular joint, and relative volume (volume:body weight ratio). A total of 127 dogs were sampled. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels had significantly flatter tympanic bullae (greater width:height ratios) versus Pugs, English Bulldogs, Labrador retrievers, and Jack Russell terriers. French Bulldogs and Pugs had significantly more overlap between tympanic bullae and temporomandibular joints versus other breeds. All brachycephalic breeds had significantly lower tympanic bulla volume:weight ratios versus Labrador retrievers. Soft tissue attenuating material (middle ear effusion) was present in the middle ear of 48/100 (48%) of brachycephalic breeds, but no significant association was found between tympanic bulla CT measurements and presence of this material. Findings indicated that there are significant interbreed variations in tympanic bulla morphology, however no significant relationship between tympanic bulla morphology and presence of middle ear effusion could be identified.