Background: Information about treatment protocols, adverse effects and outcomes with intrapleural recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rTPA) use in horses with fibrinous pleuropneumonia is limited. Hypothesis/Objectives: Describe factors that contribute to clinical response and survival of horses treated with rTPA intrapleurally. Animals: Horses with bacterial pneumonia and fibrinous pleural effusion diagnosed by ultrasonography, that were treated with rTPA intrapleurally. Methods: Retrospective multicenter case series from 2007-2012. Signalment, history, clinical and laboratory evaluation, treatment, and outcome obtained from medical records. Regression analysis used to identify associations between treatments and outcomes. Results: Thirty three hemithoraces were treated in 25 horses, with 55 separate treatments. Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (375-20,000 μg/hemithorax) was administered 1-4 times. Sonographically visible reduction in fibrin mat thickness, loculations, fluid depth, or some combination of these was seen in 32/49 (65%) treatments. Response to at least 1 treatment was seen in 17/20 (85%) horses with sonographic follow-up evaluation after every treatment. Earlier onset of rTPA treatment associated with increased survival odds. No association was found between cumulative rTPA dose or number of rTPA doses and survival, development of complications, duration of hospitalization or total charges. Clinical evidence of hypocoagulability or bleeding was not observed. Eighteen horses (72%) survived to discharge. Conclusions and clinical importance: Treatment with rTPA appeared safe and resulted in variable changes in fibrin quantity and organization within the pleural space. Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator could be a useful adjunct to standard treatment of fibrinous pleuropneumonia, but optimal case selection and dosing regimen remain to be elucidated.
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