Use of computed tomography in the diseased feline thorax



Computed tomography (CT) scanning of the thorax is gaining more attention in veterinary medicine as therapeutic possibilities increase. Plain and contrast-enhanced CT images of the thorax of five referred cats with signs of respiratory disease were evaluated using soft tissue (pleural) and lung windows. The common CT pattern in all cats was involvement of the lung lobes, either as a homogeneous or heterogeneous single lobe hyperdensity. It involved the main bronchus, invaded the cranial or caudal mediastinum, and crossed the border to the opposite lung. Right lung atelectasis and mediastinal shift caused left lung overinflation. Bronchial lymph node enlargement was found unilaterally or bilaterally. CT-guided percutaneous fine needle aspiration biopsy of the lobar lung lesion was performed in four cats; in three cases it revealed carcinoma and in one inflammation, although the cat with suspected inflammation was subsequently found to have a carcinoma on lung lobectomy. Histopathology confirmed lung metastasis in one case and bronchial adenocarcinoma in four cases. A protocol for systematic examination of thoracic CT images is proposed.