• canine;
  • diagnostic imaging;
  • feline;
  • lung;
  • plate-like atelectasis;
  • pulmonary;
  • radiography

Discrete discoid or linear areas of increased soft opacity have been observed within the pulmonary parenchyma in thoracic radiographs of dogs and cats. Similar radiographic findings have been described in humans and termed plate-like atelectasis. The purpose of this retrospective study was to describe locations and characteristics of presumed plate-like atelectasis, presence of concurrent thoracic disease(s), and presence of persistent pulmonary changes on recheck thoracic radiographic studies in a cohort of dogs and cats. Hospital records between 2004 and 2011 were searched and a total of 90 cases were included (75 dogs and 15 cats, 2–17 years of age). Plate-like atelectasis was most commonly found in left lateral radiographs. Plate-like atelectasis was observed in the cranial thorax and was oriented in a dorsocranial to ventrocaudal direction in 68 (75%) patients. Plate-like atelectasis averaged 29.6 ± 14.4 mm in length and 2.6 ± 1.3 mm in width. In 57 of the 90 patients (63%), plate-like atelectasis was the only abnormality found. Plate-like atelectasis was present in 7 of 22 cases where follow-up radiographs were available. Findings from the current study indicated that, while the etiology of plate-like atelectasis remains unknown, anatomic variations in sublobar pulmonary anatomy might account for pleural areas of atelectasis. The authors propose that the presence of plate-like atelectasis may represent areas of atelectasis that track along sublobar lung lobe separations, an area of hypoventilation or decreased collateral ventilation, and/or area of decreased localized surfactant deficiency.