Deep learning-based diagnosis of stifle joint diseases in dogs

In this retrospective, analytical study, we developed a deep learning-based diagnostic model that can be applied to canine stifle joint diseases and compared its accuracy with that achieved by veterinarians to verify its potential as a reliable diagnostic method.

A total of 2382 radiographs of the canine stifle joint from cooperative animal hospitals were included in a dataset. Stifle joint regions were extracted from the original images using the faster region-based convolutional neural network (R-CNN) model, and the object detection accuracy was evaluated. Four radiographic findings: patellar deviation, drawer sign, osteophyte formation, and joint effusion, were observed in the stifle joint and used to train a residual network (ResNet) classification model. Implant and growth plate groups were analyzed to compare the classification accuracy against the total dataset. All deep learning-based classification models achieved target accuracies exceeding 80%, which is comparable to or slightly less than those achieved by veterinarians.

However, in the case of drawer signs, further research is necessary to improve the low sensitivity of the model. When the implant group was excluded, the classification accuracy significantly improved, indicating that the implant acted as a distraction. These results indicate that deep learning-based diagnoses can be expected to become useful diagnostic models in veterinary medicine.

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