Imaging findings in 14 dogs and 3 cats with lobar emphysema

H Warwick, J Guillem, D Batchelor , Tobias Schwarz, Tiziana Liuti, S Griffin , M-L Theron , E Keenihan , S Spechi , G Lacava, J Mortier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Lobar emphysema in dogs and cats is caused by bronchial collapse during expiration and subsequent air trapping. Congenital causes such as bronchial cartilage defects or acquired causes such as compressive neoplastic lesions have been reported. Morbidity results from hyperinflation of the affected lung lobe and compression of adjacent thoracic structures. OBJECTIVE: To describe patient characteristics and imaging findings in dogs and cats with lobar emphysema. ANIMALS: Fourteen dogs and 3 cats with lobar emphysema diagnosed by imaging findings were retrospectively identified from veterinary referral hospital populations over a 10-year period. METHODS: Cases that included thoracic radiography, thoracic computed tomography (CT), or both were included. All images were reviewed by a European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging diplomate. Relevant case information included signalment, clinical findings, treatment, and histopathology where available. RESULTS: Ten of 17 (59%) patients were presented for evaluation of dyspnea and 6 (35%) for coughing. Eleven (65%) patients were <3 years of age. The right middle lung lobe was affected in 12 cases (71%) and multiple lobes were affected in 7 cases (41%). Congenital lobar emphysema was suspected in 14 cases (82%). CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Lung lobe hyperinflation, atelectasis of nonaffected lung lobes, mediastinal shift, and thoracic wall and diaphragmatic wall deformation were common findings. Lobar or multilobar emphysema should be considered in patients with dyspnea or coughing, particularly younger patients. Although radiography is useful, CT provides better detail. In older patients, acquired causes of bronchial compression should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1935-1942
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2021


  • anatomy and pathology
  • CLE,
  • respiratory tract


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