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Pleural effusion - what it is and how to approach it!

Pleural effusion is the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (which is in the thoracic cavity)

It can cause clinical signs such as anorexia or hyporexia, difficulty breathing, and lethargy among others

There are many possible types and causes of effusion

Some possible types include: transudate, modified transudate, chylothorax, pyothorax, or hemothorax

Some possible causes include: congestive heart failure, low protein levels (hypoproteinemia), cancer, feline infectious peritonitis, trauma, lung lobe torsion, diaphragmatic hernia, among others

Because there are so many possible types and causes, it is very important to remove the fluid (thoracocentesis) so it can be analyzed and characterized. This procedure can be both therapeutic and in some cases, diagnostic.

The prognosis depends on the cause but is usually guarded


1) Veterinary Partner.

2)Tilley, L. P., & Smith, F. W. (2005). The 5-minute veterinary consult: Canine and feline. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

3)Yin, S. A. (2010). The small animal veterinary nerdbook. Davis, CA: CattleDog Pub.

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