Case Description—A dog was referred for treatment after ingestion of quick-dissolve chlorine granules intended for use in a swimming pool.
Clinical Findings—At evaluation 18 hours after ingestion of the granules, the dog had tachypnea, signs of depression, approximately 5% dehydration, oral mucositis, and a productive cough. Increased respiratory tract sounds and wheezes were ausculted in all lung fields. Complete blood count revealed erythrocytosis and lymphopenia. Serum biochemical analyses revealed mildly high activities of hepatic enzymes and creatine kinase. Arterial blood gas concentrations were consistent with hypoxemia and hyperventilation. Thoracic radiography revealed widespread pulmonary alveolar infiltrates predominantly affecting the ventral portions of both lungs, consistent with noncardiogenic pulmonary edema secondary to aspiration of the granulated chlorine.
Treatment and Outcome—Initial treatment included IV administration of an electrolyte solution with supplemental KCl, ranitidine, furosemide, cefotaxime, buprenorphine, and supplemental oxygen. Subsequent treatment included administration of meloxicam and an endoscopically placed percutaneous gastrostomy tube. Endoscopic examination revealed esophagitis and mild gastritis; therefore, metoclopramide and sucralfate were also administered. Fifteen days later, the gastrostomy tube was removed prior to discharge; endoscopic examination revealed grossly normal esophageal and gastric mucosa, and thoracic radiography revealed complete resolution of the lung lesions.
Clinical Relevance—Although ingestion of granulated chlorine is rare in veterinary patients, the resulting disease processes are common and can be treated successfully.