Objective: Correlate the necropsy diagnosis with the history, diagnostic findings, and clinical course of dyspneic cats with primary lung parenchymal disease.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Animals: Client-owned cats over 6 months of age hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with a primary problem of respiratory distress that had pulmonary parenchymal disease on thoracic radiographs, and a complete necropsy.
Measurements and main results: Cats included were assigned into 2 groups based on the pulmonary histopathology: inflammatory (n=8) and neoplastic (n=7) disease. No statistical difference was found between the groups with regard to age, body weight, clinical signs, duration of clinical signs, physical examination findings, thoracic radiography, duration of hospitalization, treatment, and outcome. Cats with neoplasia had a statistically higher mean total white blood cell count (26.60 k/μL±10.41) than those with inflammatory lung disease (11.59 k/μL±4.49; P=0.026). Cats with bacterial or viral pulmonary disease had a significantly shorter median duration of illness (5 days, range 1–7 days) than all other cats (30 days, range 7–365 days; P=0.0042). Ultrasound guided pulmonary fine-needle aspiration (FNA) provided an accurate diagnosis in 5/5 cases.
Conclusions: Forty-seven percent of cats with pulmonary parenchymal disease had neoplasia. The clinical diagnosis was difficult to obtain ante-mortem; lung FNA appeared to be the most helpful diagnostic tool in these cases.