Computed tomographic features of canine intracranial and jugular foraminal masses involving the combined glossopharyngeal, vagus, and accessory nerve roots

Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2024 Mar 28. doi: 10.1111/vru.13359. Online ahead of print.


A chronic cough, gag, or retch is a common presenting clinical complaint in dogs. Those refractory to conservative management frequently undergo further diagnostic tests to investigate the cause, including CT examination of their head, neck, and thorax for detailed morphological assessment of their respiratory and upper gastrointestinal tract. This case series describes five patients with CT characteristics consistent with an intracranial and jugular foraminal mass of the combined glossopharyngeal (IX), vagus (X), and accessory (XI) cranial nerves and secondary features consistent with their paresis. The consistent primary CT characteristics included an intracranial, extra-axial, cerebellomedullary angle, and jugular foraminal soft tissue attenuating, strongly enhancing mass (5/5). Secondary characteristics included smooth widening of the bony jugular foramen (5/5), mild hyperostosis of the petrous temporal bone (3/5), isolated severe atrophy of the ipsilateral sternocephalic, cleidocephalic, and trapezius muscles (5/5), atrophy of the ipsilateral thyroarytenoideus and cricoarytenoideus muscles of the vocal fold (5/5), and an ipsilateral “dropped” shoulder (4/5). Positional variation of the patient in CT under general anesthesia made the “dropped” shoulder of equivocal significance. The reported clinical signs and secondary CT features reflect a unilateral paresis of the combined cranial nerves (IX, X, and XI) and are consistent with jugular foramen syndrome/Vernet’s syndrome reported in humans. The authors believe this condition is likely chronically underdiagnosed without CT examination, and this case series should enable earlier CT diagnosis in future cases.

PMID:38549218 | DOI:10.1111/vru.13359