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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Imaging features of retroperitoneal extra-adrenal paragangliomas in 10 dogs

Gombert, Alexis; Diana, Alessia; Hecht, Silke; Nicoli, Stefano; Fracassi, Federico; Mortier, Jeremy; Reyes-Gomez, Edouard; Pey, Pascaline


Retroperitoneal paragangliomas are rare tumors of the neuroendocrine system. Only a few canine case reports are available with rare descriptions of their imaging features. The objectives of this multi-center, retrospective case series study were to describe the diagnostic imaging features of confirmed retroperitoneal paragangliomas and specify their location. Medical records and imaging studies of 10 affected dogs with cytological or histopathologic results concordant with retroperitoneal paragangliomas were evaluated. Dogs had a median age of 9 years. Four of them had clinical signs and laboratory reports compatible with excessive production of catecholamines. Six ultrasound, four CT, four radiographic, and one MRI studies were included. The paragangliomas did not have a specific location along the aorta. They were of various sizes (median 33 mm, range: 9-85 mm of length). Masses had heterogeneous parenchyma in six of 10 dogs, regardless of the imaging modality. Strong contrast enhancement was found in all CT studies. Encircling of at least one vessel was detected in six of 10 masses, clear invasion of a vessel was identified in one of 10 masses. In five of 10 cases, the masses were initially misconstrued as lymph nodes by the on-site radiologist. Retroperitoneal paragangliomas appear along the abdominal aorta, often presenting heterogeneous parenchyma, possibly affecting the local vasculature, and displaying strong contrast enhancement on CT. Clinical signs can be secondary to mass effects or excessive catecholamine production. Underdiagnosis and misdiagnosis of this tumor are suspected as they can be silent, of small size, or confused with other structures.


canine; computed tomography; MRI; neuroendocrine; ultrasound

Published in

Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
2022, volume: 63, number: 4, pages: 393-402
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University Animal Hospital
Diana, Alessia
University of Bologna
Hecht, Silke
UT Institute of Agriculture
Fracassi, Federico
University of Bologna
Mortier, Jeremy
University of Liverpool
Reyes-Gomez, Edouard
Ecole Nationale Veterinaire d'Alfort (ENVA)
Pey, Pascaline
University of Bologna

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

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