Abstracts: Smoke inhalation in dogs and cats – a retrospective study over 5.5 years

OBJECTIVE: Particularly during household fires, inhalation of hot air and smoke, and the formation of carboxyhaemoglobin and cyanide lead to respiratory tract and lung injury in small animals. Additionally, oxygenation is impaired in most cases. The aim of this retrospective study was to analyse smoke exposure, physical examination findings and clinical pathology results as well as their course in dogs and cats presented after smoke inhalation.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patient histories of dogs and cats that had been diagnosed with smoke inhalation between January 1, 2008 and August 31, 2013 were analysed retrospectively. Normality was tested using the Shapiro-Wilk test and analyses were performed using t-tests, the Chi-square test and Mann-Whitney U-test. P-values < 0.05 were considered significant.

RESULTS: The analysis included data of 13 cats and 9 dogs. The animals were presented within 12 hours after a household fire with sooting, coughing and polypnoea. Pretreatment in approximately 50 per cent of patients consisted of oxygen, corticoids and bronchodilators. The most common clinical abnormalities were tachycardia, polypnoea and hypothermia as well as pink mucous membranes. Changes observed from clinical pathology analysis included the haemoconcentration, reticulocytosis, a left shift of the leucogram, mixed acid-base disorders and moderate carboxyhaemoglobinema. Therapy included oxygen and fluid therapy, antibiotic treatment, corticoids, bronchodilators and cleaning of the animal. One cat died and 21 animals were discharged 0-6 days after presentation.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Dogs and cats suffering from smoke inhalation were presented with respiratory disorders and dehydration. Outcome is good if the animals are treated early and adequately with oxygen and fluid therapy. The study is from Medizinische Kleintierklinik der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, Germany.

Dörfelt R, Turković V, Teichmann S. Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere 2014; 42(5): 303-309.