Objectives The objective of this study was to report the use of computed tomography (CT) in conjunction with clinical signs to assess the severity of pectus excavatum (PE) in kittens and to guide surgical decision making; and to report medium-term outcome in a prospective cohort of kittens undergoing surgical correction.
Methods This was a prospective study of 10–15-week-old kittens (n = 10) diagnosed with moderate/severe PE.
Results CT provides additional information that is useful for selecting patients for surgical correction and for planning the surgery. Traditional radiographic indices (vertebral, frontosagittal) provide reasonable approximations of the CT-determined dimensions but these seem to correlate poorly with the severity of clinical signs. Kittens commonly have lateralised deformities, which are associated with less severe clinical symptoms, while those with midline deformities are associated with more severe clinical signs. Six of seven kittens with severe PE that had a ventral splint applied for 4 weeks had excellent medium-term outcomes.
Conclusions and relevance Restriction of diastolic filling by midline sternal deviation may be an important cause of exercise intolerance in cats with PE. CT can be used to assess affected kittens and to plan surgery when indicated.