Pyothorax is a bacterial infection that causes pus to build up in the chest cavity (the space between the lungs and the ribs). Normally, the chest cavity has the lungs and a small amount of liquid for lubrication. If fluid fills up the entire space, the lungs cannot expand, and your dog will have difficulty breathing. Left untreated, pyothorax is fatal.
After any one of these causes, bacteria will enter the chest cavity, resulting in inflammation. Soon the entire space fills with pus.
To diagnose your dog with pyothorax, your veterinarian may perform the following:
You must treat pyothorax aggressively. Other, inexpensive treatments will usually not be effective. Treatment consists of:
When the pus has cleared and your dog’s appetite returns, your veterinarian will remove the tubes and send you home with antibiotics. It is very important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions about the medication. Relapse is possible if the infection is not completely cleared.
Although it is not necessarily practical, most veterinarians agree the best preventative measure is refraining from participating in activities that may result in one of the common causes.
Without proper treatment, pyothorax is fatal. Treatment may be expensive, but generally has a high success rate.
The prognosis depends on the severity of the cause. If the pyothorax is not caused by a serious disease, your dog will have a better chance of healing completely.
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