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Re: URGENT Q: chest tube

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  • Barbara Boehmer
    ... Yes, but I don t know if my experience will help you. I had a cat whose only known major problem was severe allergies. He had been tested and was allergic
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 4, 2008
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      > Has anyone on here had fluid drained by means of a chest tube?

      Yes, but I don't know if my experience will help you.

      I had a cat whose only known major problem was severe allergies. He
      had been tested and was allergic to various foods, grasses and trees
      and other things that blow in the wind, and various common items like
      wool and fleas and dust mites. He was eating prescription food, I had
      removed everything that I could from his environment that he was
      allergic to, and he was getting hyposensitization injections for
      seasonal things that blow in the wind, and chlorpheniramine
      antihistamine twice daily.

      One morning he was fine, but later that day I found him lying on his
      side in the living room floor, gasping for air. I rushed him to the
      emergency vet, told them I had a cat having trouble breathing that
      needed oxygen right away, handed his carrier over, and they took him
      directly to the back. The vet said that by the time he saw him he was
      in full arrest. He said some things about fluid (blood) in the lung,
      collapsed lung, leaking air. Apparently he was having major problems
      with both lungs. He put a chest tube in him to drain the blood and
      was able to revive him. When I saw him he was in a chamber that is
      both heated and oxygenated with the tube attached to one side of his
      chest with blood visible in it and some elastic mesh holding
      everything in place. He was conscious, alert, looked at me, meowed,
      and moved toward the opening that I could stick my hand into to pet
      him briefly. After petting him a little, I had to close it to keep
      the oxygen level up. Despite all efforts, he died there later that
      night. The emergency vet said that you usually see this with a
      cardiomyopathy patient or a burst tumor in the lungs or a cat that has
      been hit by a car. I suspect that he had a heart problem and my vet
      was so focused on the allergies that he totally missed the heart
      problem. He also might have had a tumor, as I had another cat who had
      a burst tumor, but it was in his digestive tract, not the lung. There
      is no way he was hit by a car or any such thing, as he only had access
      to the indoors and a safe outdoor enclosure with chain link sides and
      wire mesh top accessed through a kitty door and there were no external
      injuries.

      In conclusion, my cat clearly would have died without the chest tube,
      so it was definitely the right thing to do for him as it was his only
      chance and the vet was almost successful. However, because it came on
      so suddenly or at least any warning signs were missed, it was too late
      to save him. The vet basically brought him back to life once, but
      couldn't do it a second time. I would imagine that if you are seeing
      early signs of such fluid build-up, it would be a good idea to drain
      it somehow, before it reaches such a crisis, and it is too late to do
      anything. Surgery is always risky, but in a case like this it sounds
      like not draining the fluid could ultimately result in death. You
      might ask the vet if there are any other options or what might happen
      if the fluid is not drained.

      I hope this helps.
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