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A 5-year-old spayed female domestic shorthair cat was evaluated because of an acute onset of dyspnea and open-mouthed breathing.


Thoracic radiography revealed pleural effusion and signs consistent with restrictive pleuritis, and results of preoperative CT were consistent with diffuse, severe restrictive pleuritis, bilateral pleural effusion, and pulmonary atelectasis. Thoracocentesis yielded a red, turbid fluid that was identified as chylous effusion with chronic inflammation.


Exploratory thoracotomy revealed diffuse, severe fibrous adhesions between the mediastinum, heart, lung lobes, and thoracic wall, with a thick fibrous capsule enveloping all lung lobes. Surgical treatment consisted of complete pleural decortication, pericardiectomy, and thoracic omentalization. The cat remained hospitalized for 6 days, receiving oxygen supplementation, multimodal analgesia, and supportive care. Long-term home care consisted of prednisolone administration, rutin supplementation, and provision of a low-fat diet. At recheck examinations 3-, 7-, and 20-weeks postoperatively, the cat remained tachypneic, but was otherwise clinically normal without dyspnea or respiratory distress. Follow-up thoracic radiography revealed improved pulmonary expansion, decreased pleural effusion, and resolved pneumothorax.


Surgical management of fibrosing pleuritis secondary to idiopathic chylothorax in cats has historically resulted in poor outcomes. This report details the first successful use of complete decortication in the surgical management of severe fibrosing pleuritis in a cat.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association