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Retrospective analysis of incidence, clinical features, potential risk factors, and prognostic indicators for aspiration pneumonia in three brachycephalic dog breeds

Hannah P. Darcy MA, VetMB1, Karen Humm MA, VetMB2, and Gert ter Haar DVM, PhD3
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, University of London, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL9 7TA, England.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, University of London, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL9 7TA, England.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, University of London, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL9 7TA, England.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To investigate incidence, clinical features, potential risk factors, and prognostic indicators for aspiration pneumonia in Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Bulldogs.

DESIGN Retrospective, observational study.

ANIMALS 41 brachycephalic dogs with aspiration pneumonia.

PROCEDURES Medical records of a veterinary referral hospital were retrospectively searched to identify Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Bulldogs treated for aspiration pneumonia between 2006 and 2015. Signalment, clinical data, and outcomes were recorded. Variables of interest were analyzed for statistical associations with outcome. Incidence of aspiration pneumonia for the population of interest was compared with that for all other dog breeds and for the general hospital population of dogs during the study.

RESULTS 41 of 2,141 (1.91%) dogs of the selected brachycephalic breeds and 396 of 80,137 (0.49%) dogs overall had a diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia. Relative risk of the disease in the population of interest was 3.77 times that for all other breeds. Median age at disease onset was greater for Pugs (83 months) than for French Bulldogs (8 months) and Bulldogs (6 months). History of gastrointestinal signs was the most commonly observed preidentified risk factor (27/41 [66%]) in these breeds. Neurologic disease was significantly more common in Pugs than in French Bulldogs and Bulldogs. On univariate analysis, increased age, male sex, obtundation, hypoalbuminemia, azotemia, and high liver enzyme activities were associated with nonsurvival; on logistic regression, increased age was associated with nonsurvival.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Age at onset and presence of other risk factors for aspiration pneumonia may vary among brachycephalic dog breeds. Prospective studies are needed to determine common risk factors and prognostic indicators for aspiration pneumonia in the larger population of brachycephalic dogs.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Darcy (hdarcy@rvc.ac.uk).