OBJECTIVE To compare bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) accomplished by use of a bronchoscopic (B-BAL) and a nonbronchoscopic (NB-BAL) technique in healthy cats.
ANIMALS 12 healthy cats.
PROCEDURES Two BALs were performed in a randomized order 2 weeks apart in each cat. Cats were anesthetized, and a 2.9-mm fiberoptic bronchoscope (B-BAL) or 8F red rubber catheter (NB-BAL) was wedged in a bronchus. Two 5-mL aliquots of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution were infused into the left and right caudal lung fields and aspirated manually with a 20-mL syringe. Proportion of BAL fluid (BALF) retrieved, depth of wedging, and anesthetic complications were recorded. Total nucleated cell count, differential cell count, and semiquantitative scores of cytologic slide quality were determined for all BALF samples. Results were compared with ANOVAs and Wilcoxon signed rank tests.
RESULTS Proportion of retrieved BALF and depth of wedging were significantly greater for B-BAL than NB-BAL. Differential cell counts and cytologic slide quality did not differ significantly between techniques. Complications included transient hemoglobin desaturation (24/24 [100%] BALs) and prolonged anesthetic recovery time (4/24 [17%] BALs). Anesthetic recovery scores did not differ significantly between techniques.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that NB-BAL was noninferior to B-BAL with regard to ease of performance, anesthetic variables, and cytologic slide quality for cats without clinical respiratory tract disease.