The first anatomical atlas of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of white matter pathways in the canine brain was published in 2013; however, the anatomical orientation of the entire visual pathway in the canine brain, from the retina to the cortex, has not yet been studied using DTI. In the present study, 3T DTI magnetic resonance (MR) images of three dogs euthanized for reasons other than neurological disorders were obtained. The process of obtaining combined fractional anisotropy and directional maps was initiated within 1 h of death. The heads were amputated immediately after MR imaging and stored in 10% formalin until dissection and histological sampling was performed. The trajectory of the visual pathway is dissimilar to the horizontal representation in other literature. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to visualize the entire canine visual pathway in its full antero-posterior extension. Fibers from the retina to the cortex passed through the optic nerve, optic chiasm, optic tracts, lateral geniculate nucleus, Meyer's and Baum's loops, and pretectal fibers. Their projections to the cortex were similar to those in the human visual pathway. The crossing of fibers at the optic chiasm occurred in 75% of fibers. In addition to advancing our knowledge in this field of study, these results could help plan neurosurgical and radiotherapeutic procedures to avoid unnecessary damage to the visual fiber system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalFrontiers in neuroanatomy
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Jacqmot, Van Thielen, Michotte, de Mey, Provyn and Tresignie.


  • DTI
  • MRI
  • canine
  • stereotaxy
  • visual pathway


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