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Radiographic abnormalities in cats with feline bronchial disease and intra- and interobserver variability in radiographic interpretation: 40 cases (1999–2006)

Julie GadboisCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Marc-André d'AnjouCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Marilyn DunnCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Kate AlexanderCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Guy BeauregardCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Jérôme D'AstousCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Luc BretonCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Guy BeauchampCompanion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine prevalence of various radiographic signs in cats with feline bronchial disease (FBD) and evaluate intra- and interobserver variability in radiographic interpretation for examiners with variable degrees of experience in radiographic interpretation.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—40 cats with FBD and 40 control cats without thoracic disease.

Procedures—Radiographic abnormalities in cats with FBD were scored by consensus of 2 radiologists. Radiographs of control cats and cats with FBD were examined twice by 5 other individuals, and diagnostic accuracy and observer agreement were assessed.

Results—In cats with FBD, the most common radiographic signs were bronchial (n = 37) and unstructured interstitial (30) lung patterns, lung hyperinflation (31) and hyperlucency (21), aerophagia (19), and lung soft tissue opacities (11). Ratios of lung inflation on ventrodorsal views were significantly higher in cats with FBD. For the 5 examiners, sensitivity ranged from 71% to 89% and specificity ranged from 43% to 74%. Intraobserver agreement was good (N = 0.47 to 0.60), but the agreement between examiners was only poor to good (N = 0.22 to 0.70). For most examiners, significant associations were found between examiner diagnosis (correct vs incorrect), level of examiner certainty, and bronchial pattern severity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that several radiographic abnormalities can commonly be seen in cats with FBD but highlighted the limitations of thoracic radiography. Examiner diagnosis and level of confidence were significantly associated with severity of a bronchial pattern.

Abstract

Objective—To determine prevalence of various radiographic signs in cats with feline bronchial disease (FBD) and evaluate intra- and interobserver variability in radiographic interpretation for examiners with variable degrees of experience in radiographic interpretation.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—40 cats with FBD and 40 control cats without thoracic disease.

Procedures—Radiographic abnormalities in cats with FBD were scored by consensus of 2 radiologists. Radiographs of control cats and cats with FBD were examined twice by 5 other individuals, and diagnostic accuracy and observer agreement were assessed.

Results—In cats with FBD, the most common radiographic signs were bronchial (n = 37) and unstructured interstitial (30) lung patterns, lung hyperinflation (31) and hyperlucency (21), aerophagia (19), and lung soft tissue opacities (11). Ratios of lung inflation on ventrodorsal views were significantly higher in cats with FBD. For the 5 examiners, sensitivity ranged from 71% to 89% and specificity ranged from 43% to 74%. Intraobserver agreement was good (N = 0.47 to 0.60), but the agreement between examiners was only poor to good (N = 0.22 to 0.70). For most examiners, significant associations were found between examiner diagnosis (correct vs incorrect), level of examiner certainty, and bronchial pattern severity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that several radiographic abnormalities can commonly be seen in cats with FBD but highlighted the limitations of thoracic radiography. Examiner diagnosis and level of confidence were significantly associated with severity of a bronchial pattern.

Contributor Notes

Dr Beauregard's present address is Hopital Veterinaire Rive-Sud, 7415 Taschereau Blvd, Brossard, QC J4Y 1A2, Canada.

Dr D'Astous' present address is Centre Veterinaire DMV, 2300 54th Ave, Montreal, QC H8T 3R2, Canada.

Address correspondence to Dr. d'Anjou.