Thoracic bite trauma in dogs and cats: a retrospective study of 65 cases.

Cabon Q, Deroy C, Ferrand FX, Pillard P, Cachon T, Fau D, Goy-Thollot I, Viguier E, Carozzo C. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2015 Nov 16; 28 (6): 448-54.

OBJECTIVES: To report a case series of thoracic bite trauma in dogs and cats and to evaluate risk factors for mortality.

METHODS: A retrospective study concerning thoracic bite wounds in dogs and cats was performed. Lesions were categorized by depth of penetration: no wound, superficial, deep or penetrating. Thoracic radiographic reports were reviewed. Lesion management was classified as non-surgical, wound exploration, or explorative thoracotomy.

RESULTS: Sixty-five cases were collected. Twenty-two percent of patients with normal respiratory patterns showed thoracic radiographic lesions. Respiratory distress was not correlated with mortality. Twenty-eight patients were presented with superficial wounds and 13 with deep wounds. Eight patients exhibited penetrating wounds. Radiographic lesions were observed in 77% of dogs and 100% of cats. Explorative thoracotomy was performed in 28% of patients, and surgical wound exploration in 17.2%. With the exception of skin wounds, thoracic wall discontinuity was the most frequent lesion. Thoracotomy was associated with increased length of hospitalisation but was not correlated with mortality. The mortality rate was 15.4%. No studied factor correlated with mortality, and the long-term outcomes were excellent.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: A penetrating injury, more than three radiographic lesions, or both together seemed to be indicative of the need for a thoracotomy. In the absence of these criteria, systematic bite wound explorative surgery is recommended, with extension to thoracotomy if thoracic body wall disruption is observed.