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Dr John
Dr John, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 216
Experience:  I am a dog vet for over 20 years
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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: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr John replied 7 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 7 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 7 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.
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