Meet Zuzu, our Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic Pet of the Week.
Zuzu is a 5 year old, female, gray kitty. Zuzu came in to see Dr. Noppinger for a hacking cough. Radiographs taken of her chest were quite shocking. Zuzu had fluid filling the right side of her chest, compressing her left lung lobes (see the first xray below where one side of the chest has a lot more white than the other side). Carefully tapping her chest with a needle, we were able to remove about a cup of white, milky fluid known as chyle.
This is a condition most commonly seen in young cats that sometimes results from previous trauma to the chest among other causes (Zuzu had been picked up and shaken by the family dog a couple months prior that appeared to have been a minor incident at the time).
Because the fluid kept recurring every couple of weeks in Zuzu, she ultimately made a trek to the University of California Davis veterinary hospital for surgery. She underwent a thoracotomy (open chest surgery) to tie off the potentially leaky duct (see the second xray below where the white fluid is gone but there are bright white staple-looking things inside it – these are the surgical wires used to tie the ducts).
Zuzu recovered well from surgery and went home after 2 days in the hospital. Six weeks later, she has not had any signs of fluid build up and is doing great.