Coughing – airway investigation

Animals with persistent coughing are candidates for bronchoscopy and airway investigations. A bronchoscopy normally is recommended after imaging of the lungs is performed such as radiographs or a CT scan.

What is bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy is a procedure where a camera (bronchoscope) is passed via the mouth to examine the trachea and lungs. It also allows a wash to be performed of the airways (bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)) in order to retrieve cells for cytological evaluation and bacterial culture.

What cases require bronchoscopy?

Any patient with a cough, abnormal breathing or exercise intolerance may benefit from bronchoscopy to assess the airway anatomy and obtain a BAL. Animals with anatomical abnormalities including tracheal collapse and bronchial collapse are assessed for possible stenting via bronchoscopy. Patients with pneumonia may also benefit from a BAL in order to obtain a bacterial culture to target antibiotics. In patients with cancer or inflammation of their lungs, bronchoscopy can also help make a diagnosis and aid treatment. Bronchoscopy can also be used to remove inhaled foreign bodies such as grass blades.

Radiograph of dog with aspiration pneumonia.

Radiograph of a dog with a alveolar pattern of the right middle and cranial lung lobe consistent with aspiration pneumonia.

Fitzpatrick Referrals