OBJECTIVE To describe ultrasonographic findings and outcomes for dogs with suspected migrating intrathoracic grass awns.
DESIGN Retrospective case series.
ANIMALS 43 client-owned dogs.
PROCEDURES Records for dogs with suspected migrating intrathoracic grass awns examined between 2010 and 2013 were reviewed. Ultrasonographic images and additional information such as signalment and pleural fluid analysis, radiographic, bronchoscopic, and CT findings were collected. Surgical treatments and outcomes were also reviewed.
RESULTS Transthoracic or transesophageal ultrasonography revealed grass awns in the pleural space (n = 13) or pulmonary parenchyma (10) of 23 dogs. Surgical removal of grass awns was successful on the first attempt in 21 of these 23 dogs (including 11/23 that had intraoperative ultrasonography performed to aid localization and removal of the awn). In the remaining 2 dogs, a second surgery was required. Twenty dogs with evidence of migrating intrathoracic grass awns had no foreign body identified on initial ultrasonographic evaluation and were treated medically; 16 developed draining fistulas, and awns identified ultrasonographically at follow-up visits were subsequently removed from the sublumbar region (n = 10) or thoracic wall (6). The remaining 4 dogs had no grass awn visualized. Clinical signs resolved in all dogs.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Transthoracic, transesophageal, and intraoperative ultrasonography were useful for localization and removal of migrating intrathoracic grass awns. Ultrasonography may be considered a valuable and readily available diagnostic tool for monitoring dogs with suspected migrating intrathoracic grass awns.