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Intrathoracic and concurrent orthopedic injury associated with traumatic rib fracture in cats: 75 cases (1980–1998)

Brian J. Kraje DVM1, Amy Clare Kraje DVM2, Barton W. Rohrbach VMD, MPH, DACVPM3, Kelly A. Anderson BS4, Steven L. Marks BVSc, MS, DACVIM5, and Douglass K. Macintire DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVECC6
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  • 1 Midland Pet Emergency Center, 235 Calderwood St, Alcoa, TN 37701-2105.
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901-1071.
  • | 3 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901-1071.
  • | 4 College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7390.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-8410.
  • | 6 Department of Small Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5523.

Abstract

Objective—To characterize rib, intrathoracic, and concurrent orthopedic injuries, and prognosis associated with traumatic rib fracture in cats.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—75 cats.

Procedure—Medical records from January 1980 to August 1998 were examined for cats with traumatic rib fracture. Signalment, cause of trauma, interval from trauma to evaluation at a veterinary teaching hospital, referral status and date, method of diagnosis, duration of hospitalization, number and location of rib fractures, presence of flail chest, costal cartilage involvement, intrathoracic and concurrent orthopedic injury, and clinical outcome were reviewed.

Results—Median age was 3 years. Twenty-five (58%) cats with reported cause of trauma were injured by interaction with another animal. Fortyseven (78%) cats that were treated survived. Cats that died had a median duration of hospitalization of < 1 day. Ten (13%) cats had flail chest. Sixty-five (87%) cats had intrathoracic injury (median, 2 injuries). Nine (100%) cats without detected intrathoracic injury that were treated survived. Thirty-five (47%) cats had concurrent orthopedic injury. Cats with flail chest, pleural effusion, or diaphragmatic hernia were significantly more likely to die than cats without each injury.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Traumatic rib fracture in cats is associated with intrathoracic and concurrent orthopedic injury. Aggressive treatment of cats with traumatic rib fracture is warranted, because the prognosis is generally favorable. Diagnosis and treatment of intrathoracic injury associated with traumatic rib fracture in cats should precede management of concurrent orthopedic injury. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:51–54)

Abstract

Objective—To characterize rib, intrathoracic, and concurrent orthopedic injuries, and prognosis associated with traumatic rib fracture in cats.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—75 cats.

Procedure—Medical records from January 1980 to August 1998 were examined for cats with traumatic rib fracture. Signalment, cause of trauma, interval from trauma to evaluation at a veterinary teaching hospital, referral status and date, method of diagnosis, duration of hospitalization, number and location of rib fractures, presence of flail chest, costal cartilage involvement, intrathoracic and concurrent orthopedic injury, and clinical outcome were reviewed.

Results—Median age was 3 years. Twenty-five (58%) cats with reported cause of trauma were injured by interaction with another animal. Fortyseven (78%) cats that were treated survived. Cats that died had a median duration of hospitalization of < 1 day. Ten (13%) cats had flail chest. Sixty-five (87%) cats had intrathoracic injury (median, 2 injuries). Nine (100%) cats without detected intrathoracic injury that were treated survived. Thirty-five (47%) cats had concurrent orthopedic injury. Cats with flail chest, pleural effusion, or diaphragmatic hernia were significantly more likely to die than cats without each injury.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Traumatic rib fracture in cats is associated with intrathoracic and concurrent orthopedic injury. Aggressive treatment of cats with traumatic rib fracture is warranted, because the prognosis is generally favorable. Diagnosis and treatment of intrathoracic injury associated with traumatic rib fracture in cats should precede management of concurrent orthopedic injury. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:51–54)