Objective: To evaluate the feasibility, benefits, and adverse effects of prolonged slow expiration (PSE) and assisted cough (AC) as chest physiotherapy (CP) techniques in dogs with airway fluid accumulation. Design: Prospective interventional study. Settings: University teaching hospital. Animals: Intervention group of 30 client-owned dogs and retrospective control group of 71 client-owned dogs. Interventions: PSE was performed on dogs with evidence of airway fluid accumulation, identified based on physical examination and thoracic radiographs. AC was performed if spontaneous cough or swallowing were not evident. The PSE treatment was performed every 6 hours until normalization of respiratory status or hospital discharge. Animals were monitored for respiratory distress, discomfort, and SpO2 during the procedure. A retrospective control group was identified by computer search. Measurements and Main Results: One hundred thirty-three sessions of CP were performed on 30 dogs. Discomfort frequency during physiotherapy was low (9%). The most commonly used position for CP was in lateral recumbency (95%) and this was well tolerated in most cases. There was no significant difference in the median SpO2 before and after CP sessions (P = 0.24). Sixty percent of sessions had a spontaneous cough or swallowing evident, 21% had successful AC performed, and no cough or swallowing occurred in the remaining (19%) sessions despite attempts of AC being made. The length of hospitalization was significantly longer in the intervention group (6 days vs 4) (P = 0.02). There was no difference in survival between the intervention (76.7%) and the control (57.7%) group (P = 0.055). Conclusions: PSE associated with AC are easily adaptable, well-tolerated techniques in dogs. The benefit of CP in dogs with airway fluid accumulation remains to be determined and it is hoped that future randomized controlled prospective studies may help answer this line of inquiry.
- Respiratory physiotherapy
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