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Risk factors, prognostic indicators, and outcome of pyothorax in cats: 80 cases (1986–1999)

Lori S. Waddell DVM, DACVECC1, Colleen A. Brady DVM, DACVECC2, and Kenneth J. Drobatz DVM, DACVECC, DACVIM3
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  • 1 Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.
  • | 2 Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.
  • | 3 Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.

Abstract

Objective—To identify risk factors associated with development of pyothorax in cats, assess survival rates for cats that are treated, determine prognostic indicators, and determine recurrence rates.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—80 cats with pyothorax and 212 control cats.

Procedure—History; month of evaluation; physical examination findings; results of hematologic, serum biochemical, and retrovirus testing; radiographic findings; outcome; recurrence rate; and necropsy findings were recorded. For control cats, age, sex, breed, indoor versus outdoor status, vaccination history, and single- versus multi-cat household status were recorded.

Results—Cats from multi-cat households were 3.8 times as likely (95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 8.2) to develop pyothorax, compared with cats from singlecat households. Indoor or outdoor status was not a risk factor. Cats with pyothorax were significantly younger (mean, 3.83 ± 3.43 years) than controls (mean, 5.62 ± 5.27 years). Nonsurvivors had significantly lower heart rates than survivors. Hypersalivation was significantly more common in nonsurvivors (11/39; 26.8%) than survivors (1/39; 3%). Overall, 48.8% (39/80) of cats survived. When cats that were euthanatized without treatment were excluded from analyses, the survival rate was 66.1% (39/59). Pyothorax recurred in 1 of 17 cats for which follow-up information was obtained.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cats with pyothorax that received treatment had a fair to good prognosis, with low recurrence rates in survivors. Hypersalivation and low heart rate were associated with worse clinical outcome. Cats with pyothorax were likely to come from multi-cat households. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:819–824)

Abstract

Objective—To identify risk factors associated with development of pyothorax in cats, assess survival rates for cats that are treated, determine prognostic indicators, and determine recurrence rates.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—80 cats with pyothorax and 212 control cats.

Procedure—History; month of evaluation; physical examination findings; results of hematologic, serum biochemical, and retrovirus testing; radiographic findings; outcome; recurrence rate; and necropsy findings were recorded. For control cats, age, sex, breed, indoor versus outdoor status, vaccination history, and single- versus multi-cat household status were recorded.

Results—Cats from multi-cat households were 3.8 times as likely (95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 8.2) to develop pyothorax, compared with cats from singlecat households. Indoor or outdoor status was not a risk factor. Cats with pyothorax were significantly younger (mean, 3.83 ± 3.43 years) than controls (mean, 5.62 ± 5.27 years). Nonsurvivors had significantly lower heart rates than survivors. Hypersalivation was significantly more common in nonsurvivors (11/39; 26.8%) than survivors (1/39; 3%). Overall, 48.8% (39/80) of cats survived. When cats that were euthanatized without treatment were excluded from analyses, the survival rate was 66.1% (39/59). Pyothorax recurred in 1 of 17 cats for which follow-up information was obtained.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cats with pyothorax that received treatment had a fair to good prognosis, with low recurrence rates in survivors. Hypersalivation and low heart rate were associated with worse clinical outcome. Cats with pyothorax were likely to come from multi-cat households. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:819–824)