Animals with thoracic trauma frequently present in small animal clinics and should always be treated as an emergency. Trauma is often as a result of traffic accidents (11-40% of cases) and many patients will also have fractures (20-60% of cases).
Thoracic trauma cases are frequently seen in small animal clinics and should always be treated as an emergency.
Pneumothorax must be considered a possibility for all thoracic trauma patients until proven otherwise.
Bilateral thoracocentesis can be both diagnostic and therapeutic in pneumothorax cases, and must be carried out before radiography is attempted.
Hemothorax is rare in animals, but significant blood loss into the pleural cavity can occur following trauma.
Most cases of hemothorax secondary to closed trauma do not need surgery and can be treated conservatively.
Bites to the thorax can be very problematic; even if there is no skin perforation, some bites can cause massive internal damage. Surgical exploration of all bite wounds is mandatory.
The intense pain from fractured ribs, along with any lung damage, contributes to hypoventilation; good pain management is vital in these patients.