Respiratory Complications Following Surgical Correction of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

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An 8 month old neutered male English Bulldog presented to Cornell University Hospital for Animals Soft Tissue Surgery Service for surgical correction of a urethral prolapse. The clients were referred by their primary veterinarian after manual correction of the urethral prolapse had failed. In the past, the client had another English Bulldog diagnosed with brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS) corrected surgically. The clients reported that since the corrective surgery, their Bulldog was breathing better. Because they were aware of the condition, and the corrective surgery, they decided to have corrective surgery for BAS done while their dog was anesthetized for urethral prolapse surgery.

On presentation the patient was bright, alert and responsive. Vital parameters were within normal limits. The only abnormalities detected during physical exam were a “purple flower” coming off the tip of the penis, sterterous breathing, and an overconditioned body score (9/9). The dog was fasted the night prior to presentation, surgery was performed that same day, and the dog was discharged the following day.

During the evening of the day of discharge, the client called the Cornell University Hospital for Animals Emergency line to report that the patient had vomited a few times, and had an episode of diarrhea. The next morning the client brought the patient back through the Emergency Service. The dog was severely dyspneic and while in the ER, the dog had a cardiac arrest. The dog was successfully resuscitated via open chest CPR. Surgery was immediately performed to clean and close the thoracotomy. The patient was placed on a ventilator; however, the dog’s condition declined over the next few days. The owners ultimately chose humane euthanasia.

The potential causes of postoperative dyspnea will be discussed during this seminar as well as precautions that can be taken to reduce the incidence of respiratory complications after brachycephalic airway surgery.

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Dogs; Aspiration pneumonia; Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome; ALI/ARDS; Case Studies


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