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  • Author or Editor: Robert T. Pernell x
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Objective—To characterize clinical features of tracheal rupture associated with endotracheal intubation in cats and to evaluate the most appropriate treatment for this condition.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—20 cats with a history of endotracheal intubation that subsequently developed dyspnea or subcutaneous emphysema.

Procedure—Medical records of cats with a presumptive diagnosis of tracheal rupture associated with intubation were reviewed. Clinical and clinicopathologic data were retrieved.

Results—Cats were evaluated 5 hours to 12 days after a surgical or medical procedure requiring general anesthesia with intubation had been performed. Fourteen (70%) cats were evaluated after dental prophylaxis. All cats radiographed had pneumomediastinum and subcutaneous emphysema. Eighteen of 19 cats were initially treated medically. Duration of medical treatment for cats that did not have surgery ranged from 12 to 72 hours. Cats that had surgery received medical treatment 3 to 24 hours prior to the surgical procedure. Medical treatment alone was administered to 15 cats that had moderate dyspnea, whereas surgical treatment was chosen for 4 cats that had severe dyspnea (open-mouth breathing despite treatment with oxygen) or worsening subcutaneous emphysema. Eighteen cats had improvement of clinical signs, 1 cat died after surgery, and 1 cat died before medical or surgical intervention.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Most cats with tracheal rupture associated with intubation can be treated medically. Cats with worsening clinical signs (severe dyspnea, suspected pneumothorax, or worsening subcutaneous emphysema) should have surgery performed immediately to correct the defect. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:1592–1595)

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