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Postoperative pulmonary complications in dogs undergoing laparotomy: frequency, characterization and disease-related risk factors

Authors

  • Amy J. Alwood DVM,

    1. From the Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies – Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
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  • Benjamin M. Brainard VMD,

    1. From the Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies – Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
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  • Elizabeth LaFond DVM, DACVS,

    1. From the Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies – Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
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  • Kenneth J. Drobatz DVM, MCSE, DACVECC, DACVIM,

    1. From the Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies – Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
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  • Lesley G. King MVB, DACVECC, DACVIM

    1. From the Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies – Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
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  • Portions of this manuscript were presented in abstract form at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium (IVECCS) in 2003.

  • Dr. LaFond's current address is Small Animal Clinical Science, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Amy J. Alwood, Ryan Veterinary Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, 3900 Delancey Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.
E-mail: alwooda@vet.upenn.edu

Abstract

Objective: To determine the frequency of postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs) in dogs following laparotomy, characterize the nature of PPCs, and identify disease-related risk factors for PPCs in dogs.

Design: Retrospective clinical study.

Setting: University-affiliated small animal teaching hospital.

Animals: One hundred and sixty-two dogs without preoperative pulmonary pathology that underwent laparotomy surgery.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Cases were evaluated for factors including patient signalment, preexisting disease, primary and ancillary surgical procedure(s), development of postoperative pulmonary disease, characteristics of perioperative hospitalization and therapy, and survival. Twenty-two percent of dogs in the study developed PPCs. PPCs included respiratory arrest (n=4), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) (n=3), pneumonia (n=8), hypoventilation (n=13), and transient hypoxemia (n=8). Dogs that developed PPCs had a significantly longer duration of oxygen therapy, longer duration of stay in intensive care unit (ICU), and decreased survival. Dogs with perioperative vomiting or regurgitation were more likely to develop PPCs. Animals that underwent exploratory laparotomy for biliary or septic peritonitis were also more likely to develop PPCs.

Conclusions: PPCs occur in dogs following laparotomy and contribute significantly to the morbidity and mortality of these surgical patients. In this patient population, animals with vomiting, regurgitation, or peritonitis may be at a higher risk of developing PPCs. Animals with the identified risk factors should be monitored carefully postoperatively for development of pulmonary complications.

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