How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr John Your Own Question
Dr John
Dr John , Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 216
Experience:  I am a dog vet for over 20 years
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr John is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What causes fluid build up around the heart and in the chest

Resolved Question:

What causes fluid build up around the heart and in the chest cavity? My dog seemed fine two days ago - was even at my vets office - and last night we thought we would loose him. He had surgery on his leg about 3 weeks ago for a torn maniscus - could it have anything to do with his surgery?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr John replied 6 years ago.

Good morning...very sorry to hear this. I am assuming he is still in the hospital right?

Several possibilities could cause the fluid...and the possible lung collapse.

Of course the bad 'C' word is one of them, cancer...could be benign or malignant, also primary heart or lung diseases can cause this fluid build-up. but with anesthesia and a prior surgery 3 weeks earlier it is certainly possible that some damage or injury occured during or after the surgery in the recovery process. An 'endotracheal tube' would have been placed to permit him to breath while under gas anesthesia.

Time and further diagnostics may give an answer to 'what caused this' and the primary cause may not be possible.

If this doesn't answer it or you have more questions just let me know. All the best to you and your dog. Drjohnw
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes - they kept him overnight, but I am supposed to bring him home later this morning. This came on very quickly. On Saturday he was checked by the vet and had a bubble on the inside of his leg drained. They said he was being too active and wanted me to contain him more for the best chance of healing. He is normally a very active dog - he did sneak up stairs a coupe of times and had to go up and down couple of steps to go outside. They did bring up the "C" word and saw some strange masses on the x-rays - but felt they couldn't say for sure. His bloodwork was off in some areas - but they felt that might be from dehydration. I hope and pray I did not do anything to cause this. Laterly I have been giving him lots of treats specifically to help with dental tartar - he has really bad breath but we love him so much. My 12 year old son will be devistated if anythig happens to Buster - as will my 16 year old daughter ... I am heartbroken at the prospects.
Expert:  Dr John replied 6 years ago.
Please don't blame way!

Any number of things could have come on this fast...the tartar and teeth certainly complicate things because they can set up abscesses in areas of bleeding-hematoma...bruising from the anesthesia process?

A ruptured lung sack can leak blood and this could have been set off by exertion after anesthesia. But really who knows. This guy is not that old so AGE is in your favor.

Before bringing him home make sure you have a clear plan from the vet(s) on what to do now...what to do in next few days and weeks to 1-getting him back to himself and healthy and 2- answer the 'what is the cause' question.

The bubble on the leg is a hematoma or seroma post surgery most likely...

Keep me posted if you can. All the best to you.
Dr John, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 216
Experience: I am a dog vet for over 20 years
Dr John and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery