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Objective—To describe the optimal thoracoscopic approach to the bovine pleural cavity and evaluate the short-term effects of thoracoscopy on cardiovascular and pulmonary function of healthy cattle.

Sample—6 healthy adult Holstein cows (12 hemithoraxes).

Procedures—For each cow, thoracoscopy was performed in both the left and right hemithoraxes with a 24-hour interval between procedures. Cows were sedated and restrained in a standing position for each thoracoscopic examination. Examination of each hemithorax lasted for 30 minutes. Arterial blood gas variables, heart rate, and respiratory rate were assessed at predetermined times before, during, and after the procedures to monitor cardiovascular and pulmonary function. Thoracic ultrasonography was performed immediately and at 24 hours and 1 week after each thorascopic examination to evaluate the extent of residual pneumothorax.

Results—Insertion of the laparoscope into the pleural cavity at the ninth intercostal space 15 cm ventral to the transverse processes of the thoracic vertebrae provided optimal visibility of structures in both the left and right hemithoraxes. Most structures of the pleural cavity were equally visible from both sides except the esophagus and the dorsal branch of the vagus nerve, which were best observed in the left hemithorax, and the pericardium, which was best observed in the right hemithorax. Mild increases in heart and respiratory rates and moderate decreases in arterial oxygen saturation and Pao2 were detected during the procedures.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Standing thoracoscopy was well tolerated in healthy adult dairy cattle and needs to be evaluated in cattle with pulmonary disease.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research