Flexible bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage in 68 cats (2001-2006)

Lynelle R Johnson, Tracy L. Drazenovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Bronchoscopy is an important tool for identifying an underlying etiology for respiratory disease in cats. However, the procedure is challenging, because feline airways are small and prone to bronchoconstriction. Hypothesis: Bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) are appropriate and safe diagnostic procedures in the cat. Animals: Sixty-eight cats. Methods: Flexible bronchoscopy was performed in all cats with the cats under propofol infusion with jet ventilation. The procedures were reviewed for BAL volumes instilled and recovered and for the number and type of complications with the use of 3 flexible endoscopes <5.0-mm outer diameter. The BAL procedure was compared among scopes by using a one-way analysis of variance. Complication rates were compared by using chi-square analysis. Significance was set at P < .05. Results: Clinical diagnoses included inflammatory airway disease in 46 of 68 cats, pneumonia in 10 of 68, neoplastic disease in 8 of 68, and other conditions in 4 of 68 cats. Mean lavage volumes instilled for the 3 scopes were 2.62-5.05 mL/kg (range, 0.77-9.38 mL/kg). Mean percent fluid recovered for the 3 scopes was 51-73%, (range, 0-140%). BAL cell counts were adequate for cytologic assessment (>300 cells/μL) in 61 of 64 cats (97%), and in 107 of 120 samples (89%) collected. Complications occurred in 38% of procedures; however, these were mild in 24% of cats; 6% of cats died or were euthanized after the procedure. Complications were not associated with fluid volume instilled or recovered, and could not be related to the underlying disease process. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Flexible bronchoscopy with BAL was well tolerated in most cats examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Complication
  • Hemoglobin desaturation
  • Jet ventilation
  • Terbutaline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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