Abdominal aortic thrombosis

Case example

A riding thrombus

An 11 year-old, female castrated Fox Terrier was presented for acute, bilateral pelvic limb paralysis and positive deep pain sensation.

CT findings

A homogenously soft tissue attenuating and non-contrast enhancing filling defect is within the entirety of the caudal abdominal aortic lumen.(image 1) It is centered on the aortic trifurcation and extends from the level of the caudal vertebral endplate of L5 cranially into the external and internal iliac arteries caudally. The filling-defect is not identified on the survey CT images (image 2) and there is no overt evidence of an atheromatous lesion.

Abdominal Aortic Thrombosis 3
Abdominal Aortic Thrombosis 1
Abdominal Aortic Thrombosis 2
Abdominal Aortic Thrombosis 2


  • Caudal abdominal aortic and bilateral external and internal iliac thrombosis

Learning points

  • Computed Tomographic Angiogphaphy (CTA) is the modality of choice for investigation of thromboembolic disease, as it is non-invasive, fast and relatively cost effective.
  • Aortic thrombosis can mimic spinal neurologic disease, but is an uncommon finding in canine patients.

More information

  • »Aortic thrombosis in dogs: Presentation, therapy and outcome in 26 cases«
    — J Vet Cardiol 2012 Volume 14(2):333-342.
  • »Primary aortic thrombosis: role of enhanced multislice CT demonstrated in three exceptional cases«
    — JBR-BTR 2014, 97, 76-80.
  • »Aortic pathology revealed by MRI in patients with clinical suspicion of spinal disease«
    — Diagnostic Neuroradiology 1993 Volume 35.

Images courtesy of the Tierklinik Posthausen, Germany.