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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 May 1;226(9):1555-8, 1502.

Idiopathic pericarditis and cardiac tamponade in two cows.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348, USA.


Idiopathic pericarditis is an uncommon diagnosis in cattle with cardiac tamponade. Two cows were examined for clinical signs of right-sided congestive heart failure, including tachycardia, venous distention, and peripheral edema. Muffled heart sounds were detected in one of the cows. Echocardiography in both cows revealed voluminous anechoic pericardial effusion and compression of the right atrium and right ventricle. Cytologic analysis of the pericardial fluid revealed hemorrhagic inflammation but no evidence of a septic or neoplastic condition such as traumatic reticulopericarditis or lymphoma, respectively. Pericardial drainage and lavage accompanied by treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs were curative in both cows. It is important to differentiate cows with idiopathic pericarditis from cows with more common septic pericarditis because the prognosis for the former disease appears to be good with appropriate treatment.

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