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Vet Clin Pathol. 2019 Mar;48(1):67-70. doi: 10.1111/vcp.12700.

Chronic granulomatous pneumonia and lung rupture secondary to aspiration of activated charcoal in a French Bulldog.

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Department of Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.


A 4-year-old, spayed female French Bulldog was presented for respiratory distress and suspected aspiration pneumonia after oral administration of activated charcoal for possible ingestion of a suspected toxic dose of trazodone. The patient had a moderate volume of pleural effusion, which contained free and intracellular black particulate matter consistent with charcoal. Due to presumed charcoal aspiration with subsequent lung rupture, the right middle and right caudal lung lobes were surgically removed. Histology revealed abundant black debris consistent with charcoal and severe granulomatous inflammation. Based on the clinical, gross, and histologic findings, a diagnosis of severe, chronic, locally extensive, aspiration pneumonia and lung rupture with secondary pleuritis and mediastinitis due to charcoal aspiration was made. Aspiration pneumonia is the main complication of activated charcoal administration, which can incite extensive, granulomatous inflammation in the respiratory tract. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report describing the cytologic and histologic findings associated with inadvertent charcoal aspiration in a veterinary species.


cytology; pleural effusion; toxin

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