Objective: To evaluate a clinical population of dogs diagnosed with presumptive aspiration pneumonia (AP) and determine diagnostic and treatment modalities contributing to survival.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: A university veterinary teaching hospital in an urban setting.
Animals: One hundred and twenty-five dogs with presumed AP treated from 2005 to 2008.
Measurements and main results: Dogs with presumptive AP identified by a review of medical records had an overall survival of 81.6% (102/125). Male large-breed dogs (mean 24.9 kg; 82/125) were overrepresented and were more likely to develop AP in this study population. Recent anesthesia had been performed in 16% (20/125), and vomiting was reported in 64% (80/125). The most common radiographic findings were a predominantly alveolar pattern (187/272, [68.8%] total lung lobes) in the right middle lung lobe (80/115, [69.6%]). A mean of 2 lung lobes were involved radiographically, and the relationship between survival and the number of lung lobes affected was statistically significant (P=0.04). Neutrophilia with a left shift was common with no significant change on consecutive daily evaluations. The mean PaO(2) was 77.7 mm Hg (SD, 17.5 mm Hg) (range, 40.7-100 mm Hg) with a median alveolar-arterial gradient of 41.1 mm Hg (range, 8.1-81.8 mm Hg). In this study population, 37.6% (47/125) of dogs had microbial cultures performed and of these, 76.6% (36/47) were positive for growth; Escherichia coli (38.8%), Mycoplasma spp. (21.3%), Pasturella spp. (19.1%), and Staphylococcus spp. (17%) were the most common isolates in either single or multiagent infections. No treatment modality was statistically associated with increased survival. Colloid therapy was a negative prognostic indicator.
Conclusions: In this study the overall prognosis for AP was good. Patients with only 1 affected lung lobe appeared more likely to survive. Supportive treatment modalities are warranted for the hospitalized patient, although no individual treatment method was found to be clearly superior to others.