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Pyothorax in Dogs

By: Dr. Theresa Welch Fossum

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Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.

  • Administer all prescribed medication as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet. Do not discontinue the antibiotics until they are all gone. Although it may seem that the antibiotics are being given for a long time, it is essential that they be continued in order to clear the infection and help prevent recurrence.

  • The frequency and nature of follow-up evaluations of your pet will be determined in part by the nature of any underlying diseases found. Your veterinarian will likely wish to re-evaluate your pet to make sure that the incision site is healing if surgery was done. Your veterinarian may want to see your pet frequently thereafter to make sure that the infection has resolved.

  • If you notice that your pet is having difficulty breathing, is less active than normal or has a decreased appetite, do not wait until your next scheduled visit to see your veterinarian. Take your pet in immediately. Pyothorax can be life-threatening so discuss with your veterinarian how to tell if your pet is in distress so that you will be better able to judge when you need to have your pet evaluated.

  • If surgery is performed, you will be asked to return for periodic evaluations. These evaluations may include taking thoracic radiographs to determine whether the fluid is present or to check for tumors if cancer was found initially.


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