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DrRalston, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2207
Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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Can you remove fluid around a dog's lungs with a needle

Customer Question

can you remove fluid around a dog's lungs with a needle aspiration?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the dog?
Customer: xray's show fluid around the lungs and possible cancer cells
JA: What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Ruby- 121/2 yrs
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Ruby-?
Customer: No she has been under care of my vet and just completed 4 months of Cyclosporine and Ketoconazole for Para anal futulas- which are now cleared up, but now the fluid around the lungs has shown up
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have to leave for a meeting/ will return in about an hour it is now 6:16 Central Daylite time
Expert:  DrRalston replied 1 month ago.

There is a space between the lungs and the body wall. This is called the pleural space.

There is usually not much there at all since the lungs occupy that space in the chest. Maybe just a small amount of fluid that helps with lubrication.

Fluid build up in the space is called pleural fluid. First you might need to know what the fluid itself is.

Is there any sign that the cancer has spread to the lungs? This would be called metastasis. And it is a very poor sign.

Sometimes, cancer spreads to the lung itself or to the outside of the lung around the edges between the lungs and the body wall. Sometimes, this causes pleuritis, or inflammation.

Infection can also find it's way into that space, and the fluid that builds up is usually like pus.

Sometimes pressure from tumors in the lungs, or pressure from fluid backing up into the lungs from heart failure for example, can lead to that fluid pushing it's way out into the pleural space. This fluid is often sort of clear, and resembles plasma, or the clear portion of blood without the cells. They tend to stay inside blood vessels with this kind of fluid.

Sometimes, damage to the lung itself, from a tumor, a puncture, rupture can cause actual bleeding. In this case, the fluid will look very much like blood, in fact it is..

The only way to know is to aspirate the fluid like you were asking. SO the answer is YES!

That will allow your Veterinarian to look at the fluid on a microscope and test it's consistency with a few other tools to get a better understanding of the problem.

If it is clear fluid, it can be removed easily.

If it is pus, it would require chest drains to help get the pus out.

If it is blood, this is a very bad sign, and could mean there is bleeding inside the chest cavity that needs to be stopped. It is not easy to get out, and shouldn't really be removed. The bleeding needs to be stopped.

If the cancer has spread, the chest tap through thoracocentesis (putting a needle in and pulling out fluid) would only be a stop gap measure I am sorry to say. Unfortunately, it might not prolong life for very long. But, if your friend Ruby is having trouble breathing, it might help there.

Expert:  DrRalston replied 1 month ago.

(be sure to see above comments)

I would be glad to answer any questions you might have. I might not be here when you return from your meeting, but that's ok. You can keep sending your questions here, just like you would use e-mail or an open text dialog.

When you log back in, leave your message for me, and I will get back to you tomorrow if I am not here.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
thank you Dr.
Expert:  DrRalston replied 1 month ago.

Yes. I am very sorry about Ruby.

But again, when you get a chance, send any questions you have, and I'll try to help ok?

I'll check back in tomorrow. (it's about 6 PM where I am - Thursday)

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I believe you have answered my questions
Expert:  DrRalston replied 1 month ago.

Ok Mary. Sounds good.

Hopefully something can be done to help Ruby breathe easier. I hate cancer with a passion. It would be nice to have some better treatments.

If anything else comes up in the future, please feel free to contact me. And if I have helped don't forget to leave a rating.

Expert:  DrRalston replied 1 month ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?