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Lymphoscintigraphic evaluation of the thoracic duct (td) was performed in 10 healthy and 12 dogs with experimentally created td abnormalities (6 dogs with td lacerations and 6 dogs with cranial vena ligations). Complete imaging took 4 hours and caused no adverse effects or complications. Lymphoscintigraphy of healthy dogs failed to image the td; however, background activity in the abdomen and thorax, and radioactivity in the kidneys, bladder, liver, and heart were noticed.

Lacerations and transections of the td were experimentally created in 6 dogs to ascertain whether td rupture could be detected with lymphoscintigraphy. Lymphoscintigraphy was performed within 48 hours of creating the td defect. There was no significant difference in the scintigraphic pattern of healthy dogs and those with experimentally created td defects.

Ligation of the cranial vena cava was performed in 6 dogs; 3 dogs developed chylothorax. In those 3 dogs, diffuse radioactivity was imaged in the thorax and was compatible with thoracic lymphangiectasia. In one of these dogs, linear activity consistent with the td and localized regions of radioactivity cranial to the heart (compatible with the mediastinal lymph nodes) were noticed. Lymphoscintigraphic findings in these dogs correlated with lymphangiographic findings.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research