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Computed Tomographic Imaging of Dogs with Primary Laryngeal or Tracheal Airway Obstruction

Stadler K., Hartman S., Matheson J., et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 2011. 52(4): p.377-384.

Seventeen dogs with clinical signs attributable to nonneoplastic obstruction of the larynx, trachea, or large bronchi underwent computed tomography (CT) imaging. In 16 of the 17 dogs, CT was performed without general anesthesia using a positioning device. Fifteen of these 16 dogs were imaged without sedation or general anesthesia. Three-dimensional (3D) internal rendering was performed on each image set based on lesion localization determined by routine image planes. Visual laryngeal examination, endoscopy, video fluoroscopy, and necropsy were used for achieving the cause of the upper airway obstruction. The CT and 3D internal rendering accurately indicated the presence and cause of upper airway obstruction in all dogs. CT findings indicative of laryngeal paralysis included failure to abduct the arytenoid cartilages, narrowed rima glottis, and air-filled laryngeal ventricles. Laryngeal collapse findings depended on the grade of collapse and included everted laryngeal saccules, collapse of the cuneiform processes and corniculate processes, and narrowed rima glottis. Trachea abnormalities included hypoplasia, stenosis, or collapse syndrome. The CT findings in tracheal hypoplasia consisted of a severely narrowed lumen throughout the entire length. Tracheal stenosis was represented by a circumferential decrease in tracheal lumen size limited to one region. Tracheal collapse syndrome was diagnosed by severe asymmetric narrowing. Lobar bronchi collapse appeared in CT images as a narrowed asymmetric lumen diameter. CT imaging of unanesthetized dogs with upper airway obstruction compares favorably with traditional definitive diagnostic methods.