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Successful medical treatment of 15 dogs with pyothorax



Objectives: To review the success of non-surgical management, which included antibiotics and a single thoracocentesis, in 15 dogs presenting with pyothorax.

Methods: Sixteen dogs were selected retrospectively from case files at the Veterinary Cardiorespiratory Centre.

Results: One dog was diagnosed with a mass suspected to be a pulmonary abscess on ultrasound examination and was referred for surgery. Fifteen dogs were treated medically. Springer spaniels were the most commonly presented breed (six cases) followed by Labrador retrievers (three cases). Under sedation or general anaesthesia, thoracocentesis was performed unilaterally and as much purulent effusion as possible was removed. Lavage of the thorax was not undertaken. In most dogs, antibiotic treatment was ampicillin at a mean dose of 33 mg/kg administered three times daily and 25 mg/kg metronidazole administered twice daily. Antibiotics were provided for a minimum of six weeks. All dogs recovered completely and did not show relapse on prolonged follow-up. This included one dog, which had very widespread pleural adhesions and minimal effusion.

Clinical Significance: In dogs that do not have evidence of pulmonary masses or consolidations and no evidence of granular pleural effusion, medical therapy may be curative even in chronic cases of pyothorax with pleural adhesions.