Thoracotomy in adult dairy cattle: 14 cases (1979-1991)

Norm G. Ducharme From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Susan L. Fubini From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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William C. Rebhun From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Kathy A. Beck From the Department of Clinical Sciences, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Summary

Fourteen cows were subjected to thoracotomy as an aid in the treatment of either septic pericarditis (n = 7) or unilateral pleuritis (fibrous or purulent; n = 7). Thoracic lesions were primary in 4 cows, secondary to traumatic reticuloperitonitis in 9 cows, and secondary to extension of a liver abscess in 1 cow. Thoracotomy was performed on 9 cows under local anesthesia. Surgery was performed on 5 cows under general anesthesia; 2 died during anesthesia, and 2 others were euthanatized. Of the 10 cows allowed to recover from surgery, 4 had pericarditis and 6 had pleuritis. Four cows with pleuritis had thoracic abscesses. All but 1 cow with pericarditis died or were euthanatized, and 5 of the 6 cows with pleuritis were discharged from the hospital. A year after surgery, 1 cow was culled because of infertility, and the other 5 cows were returned to production.

Summary

Fourteen cows were subjected to thoracotomy as an aid in the treatment of either septic pericarditis (n = 7) or unilateral pleuritis (fibrous or purulent; n = 7). Thoracic lesions were primary in 4 cows, secondary to traumatic reticuloperitonitis in 9 cows, and secondary to extension of a liver abscess in 1 cow. Thoracotomy was performed on 9 cows under local anesthesia. Surgery was performed on 5 cows under general anesthesia; 2 died during anesthesia, and 2 others were euthanatized. Of the 10 cows allowed to recover from surgery, 4 had pericarditis and 6 had pleuritis. Four cows with pleuritis had thoracic abscesses. All but 1 cow with pericarditis died or were euthanatized, and 5 of the 6 cows with pleuritis were discharged from the hospital. A year after surgery, 1 cow was culled because of infertility, and the other 5 cows were returned to production.

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