Could chronic abdominal pain cause breathing problems?
Jun 01, 2002
Signalment: Canine, mixed breed, 10-year-old, male castrated, 88 lbs.
Clinical history The dog presents today for coughing for the last 1.5 weeks and labored breathing and wheezing for the last few days. The dog's appetite is somewhat decreased. The dog has a clinical history of springtime sneezing, coughing and wheezing for many years now. Therapy has included the administration of Theo-Dur, cephalexin, Drontal Plus, and dexamethasone, and started the day before the examination.
The abdominal radiographs show an enlarged liver, caudal displacement of the stomach, large soft tissue mass located at the tail of the spleen, mild spondylosis, lumbosacral instability and osteoarthritis of the coxofemoral joints.
Ultrasound examination Thorough abdominal ultrasonography was performed. The dog was positioned in dorsal recumbency for the ultrasonography. The ultrasound images provided are from this dog's cranial abdomen.
The gallbladder does contain some sludge material. The spleen shows uniform echogenicity except for the tail region of the spleen where there is an irregular mixed echogenic mass with distinct borders that could be located within the splenic parenchyma. The left and right kidneys are similar in size, shape and echotexture. No calculi were noted in either kidney. The urinary bladder is distended with urine and contains some urine sediment material - no masses or calculi noted. The stomach wall appears to be normal.
Case management In this case, possible splenic mass and seasonal bronchitis from inhaled allergens is the clinical diagnosis. At this point, an exploratory laparotomy should be performed for possible spleen removal and histopathologic examination.
At surgery, the surfaces of the liver lobes and regional lymph nodes should be inspected for possible metastatic disease. No obvious evidence of neoplasia was noted in the thoracic cavity. Management of the seasonal bronchitis should be continued.
Follow-up report: Two days later, an exploratory laparotomy was performed. Two lobulated masses (each lobulated mass measured 12 cm x 12 cm) with omental adhesions and about 1.5-2 inches of involved anti-mesenteric wall of the jejunum were found at surgery. These lobulated masses were removed by ligating omental vessels and a jejunal resection done. The tail of the spleen was free of obvious mass lesions. Therefore, what appeared to be a soft tissue mass of the tail of the spleen was actually a soft tissue mass affecting the jejunum and omentum. The liver and regional lymph nodes were also free of obvious metastatic lesions. The histopathologic examination confirmed a diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma with a high mitotic rate – an uncommon tumor of the intestinal tract. Actually, this tumor type is generally a better prognostic tumor if completely removed than is any hemangiosarcoma.
The owner reported the dog's breathing improved two days after surgery. The question to be asked now is "Could the dog's breathing problem have been caused by chronic abdominal pain?"
Recheck ultrasonography of the abdomen every six months would be indicated for the next few years as well as monitoring the dog for changes in body weight, appetite and attitude. Chemotherapy is not normally administered after surgery for this tumor type. Most likely, this is a great diagnosis for this dog.
Fact sheet on leiomyosarcoma in dogs