Chylothorax is a rare condition in dogs that occurs due to lymphatic fluid accumulating in the pleural cavity. The pleural cavity is located between the lungs and the inner lining of the chest wall. It is a condition that is commonly characterized by the dog’s inability to totally inflate their lungs because of the build-up of fluid within this pleural cavity. This build-up is likely going to result in inflammation of the lungs and heart. Due to the propensity and potential for lasting damage, it’s essential that your dog receives prompt treatment if you believe they will be affected by this condition.
Chylothorax is a very poorly understood ailment in which milky white liquid called chyle accumulates within the thoracic cavity. In most cases, the cause of this is usually unknown, i.e., idiopathic. However, it could also be caused by underlying heart conditions, blood clots or fungal diseases.
The symptoms of chylothorax in dogs are common to those seen in other respiratory ailments such as pneumothorax. Therefore, chylothorax symptoms in dogs may include signs like lethargy, appetite reduction, non-productive cough, cyanosis, breathing difficulties, and some extreme cases, severe weight loss.
If the condition is untreated, it may cause inflammation, irritation, and permanent damage to the lungs and pericardium.
The Build-up of chyle in the pleural cavity coupled with trauma are the two most common chylothorax causes. In dogs suffering from chylothorax, a malfunction within the thoracic duct results in chyle leaking into the thorax. This may translate to difficulty in breathing due to diminished lung inflation, weakened immunity, and metabolic disorders. Many diseases can cause this dysfunction, like cancer, fungal infections, and heart conditions like blood clots and murmurs.
To reach a conclusive chylothorax diagnosis, the following tests are typically performed:
First of all, it is important to get a chest X-ray to confirm the presence of fluid build-up in the chest. Once this has been confirmed, fluid analysis is done. The fluid analysis involves draining a small amount of fluid from the chest cavity via a chest tap to note its color, after which chemical tests are done on the fluid to determine its glyceride (fat) content. If this fluid has a high-fat content, then it is most likely chyle.
A final confirmatory test for chyle is observing it closely under the microscope for the presence of a large number of lymphocytes.
Once this is done, it is imperative to determine the underlying cause by carrying extra tests to spot an underlying cause. Such tests could include testing the fluid to see if there is evidence of fungal or bacterial infections, blood work, tests for FeLV, FIV, extra chest and abdominal radiographs, thoracic ultrasound, and cardiac ultrasound.
Chylothorax treatment could either be surgical or non-surgical. Non-surgical chylothorax treatment typically consists of removing fluid from the thoratic cavity via thoracocentesis or placing a chest tube to temporarily improve respiration. Unfortunately, this does not address the root cause, and the chances of success is approximately 25% for the resolution of chylothorax.
Your vet doctor might believe that surgery is the best way to treat your dog’s chylothorax. There are two surgical choices available, and they are:
Thoracic duct ligature
This surgical methodology involves the ligature of the lymphatic vessel, preventing the liquid body substance flow through this duct and instead of forcing the body to develop new lymphatic connections to the blood vessel system within the abdomen.
Ablation of the sac chyli
This surgical methodology involves removing the sac chyli, inflicting the body to make new pathways for the lymphatic fluid to enter the blood, permitting pressure on the lymphatic vessel to be mitigated, and leaky of liquid body substance into the thorax reduced.
Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that a pericardiectomy, the removal of the serosa, is also useful in treating this condition. Your MD can talk to you about the risks committed by this procedure. The surgery for chylothorax is also time overwhelming, and because of shrunken respiratory organ capability and therefore the metabolism effects of physiological state agents, your dog is at associate enlarged anesthetic risk.
Your dog can possibly need hospitalization following the surgery. An anesthetic will cause physiological state and excitement throughout the recovery period. Your dog is going to be fastidiously monitored, and once his chest tube is in a position to be removed, he will be promptly discharged.
Safari Vet Care Center should be where you want to visit to ensure that your pets get top-notch chylothorax service. Aside from the fact that they are very affordable, they also possess an in-house consultant within their ranks who is a board-certified pain management specialist.