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Idiopathic primary chylopericardium in a dog

Sarah E. Boston DVM, DVSc, DACVS1, Noël M. Moens DVM, MSc, DACVS2, and Dawn M. Martin DVM3
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

Abstract

Case Description—A 7-year-old spayed female Labrador Retriever was evaluated because of pericardial effusion.

Clinical Findings—The dog had a history of decreased appetite and exercise intolerance of 3 days' duration. Thoracic radiography performed by the referring veterinarian revealed a large cardiac silhouette. Heart sounds were muffled. Echocardiographic findings were indicative of severe pericardial effusion with cardiac tamponade; no pleural effusion was identified. Pericardiocentesis yielded a considerable amount of chylous fluid. A diagnosis of chylopericardium in the absence of pleural effusion was made.

Treatment and Outcome—Conservative management was not effective, and subtotal pericardectomy and thoracic duct ligation were recommended. Surgery was postponed by the owners for 25 days, at which time the dog had both chylopericardium and chylothorax. The dog underwent subtotal pericardectomy and thoracic duct ligation; to delineate the thoracic duct, intraoperative lymphangiography was performed by injection of a radiopaque contrast agent directly into a mesenteric lymph node and subsequent injection of methylene blue solution into another mesenteric lymph node. Surgical treatment resulted in complete resolution of the clinical signs and pleural effusion.

Clinical Relevance—To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of the development of chylopericardium prior to development of chylothorax in a dog. Treatment with thoracic duct ligation and pericardectomy resulted in complete resolution of the effusion and clinical signs.

Abstract

Case Description—A 7-year-old spayed female Labrador Retriever was evaluated because of pericardial effusion.

Clinical Findings—The dog had a history of decreased appetite and exercise intolerance of 3 days' duration. Thoracic radiography performed by the referring veterinarian revealed a large cardiac silhouette. Heart sounds were muffled. Echocardiographic findings were indicative of severe pericardial effusion with cardiac tamponade; no pleural effusion was identified. Pericardiocentesis yielded a considerable amount of chylous fluid. A diagnosis of chylopericardium in the absence of pleural effusion was made.

Treatment and Outcome—Conservative management was not effective, and subtotal pericardectomy and thoracic duct ligation were recommended. Surgery was postponed by the owners for 25 days, at which time the dog had both chylopericardium and chylothorax. The dog underwent subtotal pericardectomy and thoracic duct ligation; to delineate the thoracic duct, intraoperative lymphangiography was performed by injection of a radiopaque contrast agent directly into a mesenteric lymph node and subsequent injection of methylene blue solution into another mesenteric lymph node. Surgical treatment resulted in complete resolution of the clinical signs and pleural effusion.

Clinical Relevance—To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of the development of chylopericardium prior to development of chylothorax in a dog. Treatment with thoracic duct ligation and pericardectomy resulted in complete resolution of the effusion and clinical signs.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Boston's present address is Western Veterinary Specialist Centre, 1635 17th Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0E5, Canada.

Address correspondence to Dr. Boston.