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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1988 Jul 1;193(1):68-71.

Results of thoracic duct ligation in dogs with chylothorax.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


Thoracic duct lymphangiography and ligation were done on 15 dogs with idiopathic chylothorax. Lymphangiography revealed thoracic lymphangiectasia in all dogs; none had a thoracic duct rupture. Lymphangiography immediately after ligation demonstrated missed branches of the thoracic duct in 4 of the 15 dogs. Eleven of the 15 dogs are alive and doing well. Eight of the 11 had no radiographic or clinical signs of pleural effusion (mean follow-up, 31.5 months; range, 4 to 75 months). The other 3 living dogs had persistent effusion; 2 were successfully managed with a pleuroperitoneal shunt (follow-up, 15 months) or pleurodesis (follow-up, 5 months), respectively, and 1 was not treated because the effusion was mild and the dog did not have clinical signs of disease (follow-up, 14 months). Four of the 15 dogs died or were euthanatized because of persistent effusion (mean follow-up, 11.5 months; range, 3 to 24 months). Considering the lack of treatment alternatives for dogs with idiopathic chylothorax, these results support thoracic duct ligation as a treatment method for dogs.

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