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J Vet Intern Med. 2006 Sep-Oct;20(5):1080-4.

Computed tomographic evidence of bulla effusion in cats with sinonasal disease: 2001-2004.

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  • 1Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.



Sinonasal disease is common in cats; chronic inflammatory disease and neoplasia are diagnosed most frequently. Radiographic and computed tomographic (CT) findings in nasal disease have been reported, although involvement of other cranial structures has not been fully described to our knowledge.


We hypothesized that neoplastic or inflammatory obstruction of the auditory tube associated with sinonasal disease could result in CT evidence of effusive bulla disease in affected cats.


46 cats with sinonasal disease, 18 control cats.


CT images acquired in cats with (n = 46) and without (n = 18) sinonasal disease were reviewed for evidence of concurrent bulla effusion. CT findings of soft tissue or fluid opacity within the tympanic bulla or thickening of the bone of the bullae were considered evidence of effusive bulla disease.


The prevalence of bulla effusion in cats with sinonasal disease was 28% (13/46) and was significantly higher than that observed in cats without sinonasal disease (1/18, P = .043). CT findings that were found in association with effusive bulla disease included imaging features of sinusitis and nasopharyngeal disease. The most common neoplasm associated with bulla effusion was nasopharyngeal lymphoma. Bulla effusion was not observed in any cat with nasal carcinoma.


Findings of this study suggest that auditory canal dysfunction may play a larger role in feline sinonasal disease than was previously recognized. The implications of these findings for management of cats with chronic inflammatory or neoplastic sinonasal disease require further investigation.

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