Long-term outcome of dogs treated surgically for idiopathic chylothorax: 11 cases (1995-2009)

Carlos Adrega da Silva, Eric Monnet
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2011 July 1, 239 (1): 107-13

OBJECTIVE: To determine long-term outcome of dogs treated surgically for idiopathic chylothorax.

DESIGN: Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS: 11 client-owned dogs with idiopathic chylothorax that underwent surgery between November 1995 and April 2009 and had been followed up for at least 4 months after surgery.

PROCEDURES: Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, history, physical examination findings, results of clinicopathologic testing, radiographic findings, surgical procedures, postoperative complications, outcome, and cause of death.

RESULTS: A median sternotomy was performed in 10 dogs, and a right intercostal thoracotomy (fifth and ninth intercostal spaces) was performed in 1. Thoracic duct ligation and subtotal pericardectomy were performed in all dogs. Thoracic omentalization was performed in 8 dogs at the time of surgery, passive pleuroperitoneal shunting was performed in 2 dogs, and pleurodesis was performed in 1 dog. Lung lobectomy was performed because of lung consolidation in 2 dogs and lung lobe torsion in another 2 dogs at the time of the initial surgery. Median disease-free interval did not differ significantly between dogs that did and did not undergo lung lobectomy. Postoperative complications occurred in 5 dogs. Median follow-up time was 46 months. Eight of 11 dogs were free from clinical signs 5 years after surgery. Two of the 3 dogs that did not undergo thoracic omentalization had a recurrence of clinical signs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results suggested that the prognosis for dogs surgically treated for idiopathic chylothorax was fair and that lung lobectomy was not a negative prognostic indicator.

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