Chylothorax, characterized by the accumulation of chyle within the thoracic cavity, is a relatively uncommon disease that affects dogs and cats. Chyle has a characteristic milky appearance and it contains small molecules of fat. After eating, food is digested by your pet and the fatty component of the meal is further broken down into small molecules termed chylomicrons. The intestinal lymphatic system that travels to a structure called the cisterna chyli (CC), which is located in the front portion of the abdomen, near the kidneys, absorbs these small molecules. The CC is a lymphatic reservoir that receives chyle from the intestine but also receives lymphatic fluid from the rest of the abdomen and pelvic limbs. The thoracic duct (TD) is the extension of the CC into the chest, which carries chyle into the thoracic cavity and eventually empties its contents into the cranial vena cava (CrVC) close to the heart. In pets affected with chylothorax there is an abnormality in the TD that causes it to leak chyle into the thoracic cavity. These pets have difficulty breathing as the chyle that builds up in the chest prevents their lungs from fully inflating with air. The lymphatic fluid that is also a main component of chyle contains protein, white blood cells, and vitamins. The loss of large amounts of chyle into the thorax can weaken your pet’s immune system and create severe metabolic disorders. Chyle is also an irritant and chronic exposure to the lining of the lungs (pleura) and heart (pericardium) can lead to inflammation of those surfaces with further deleterious consequences.
To begin with, we need to collect and submit blood samples from at least 5 Chylothorax affected Afghan Hounds. To participate in the research, we are asking the owners of these dogs to submit blood samples to the U of MO. You would need to get the forms in Step 1 and Step 2.
Download, fill out and print the CHIC / OFA forms to get the bar code blood sample labels. The $20 fee is waived if your dog has Chylothorax.
Return to your veterinarian and ship the chilled blood sample with bar code label you received from the OFA attached and the health history form to Dr. Gary Johnson at the University of Missouri.
- About Chylothorax at the ACVS
- Article: Idiopathic Chylothorax: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Thoracic Duct Imaging
- Article: Idiopathic Chylothorax: Nonsurgical and Surgical Management
- Afghan Hounds & Others with Chylothorax is a public group on Facebook where many owners have shared their journey from surgery to medication and helped each other through some rough times.
The AKC will match donations to the Canine Health Foundation Donor Advised Funds in 2018!Donate to the AHCA Donor Advised Fund at the Canine Health Foundation:
- Canine Health Foundation - Donor Advised Fund
- For "Choose a Type" select "Donor Advised Funds"
- For "Choose a Program" select "Afghan Hound - DAF"
The AHCA also has a GoFundMe for Chylothorax Research.
We will need to fund raise to help pay for this research. As a Club, we should start fund raising now and keep it at the forefront of awareness as it is essential for the study. We need to do this – we CAN do this!!
Chest Tube for Draining Chyle
Little Disney's Story
Everyone, who had done the operation said they would never put their dog through it again. Statistics say 80 percent survival rate but that is not so. Maybe dog lives a minute after operation and they say success. After much discussion with my vet we opted to go to the vet every week to 10 days to have the Chyle taken off and to give her a low fat diet and Rutin. This went on for about 9 months and they were starting to do research in one of the universities in California and we were organizing going up there to have a drain put in which would be less invasive. My vet Dr. Rachel Reedy had done a wonderful job with Little Disney. In the end we were driving home after she had had the Chyle taken off and she kept trying to jump into the front seat of the car - something she never did. I asked hubby to stop so I could see what was on the go and Little Disney’s tongue and gums were all black and she was in distress.
I phoned our vet and she said she would wait for us we needed to come back to the hospital now. Well, in the end with total heart break we had to say goodbye to Little Disney.
- Angela Carolyn
He came to us at the age of 13 months, and it took us 12 months to gain his confidence making him into the most loving of boys.
He fitted well into our pack of Afghan Hounds and could have become the champion he was originally destined to be. His brother won RCC at Crufts in 2015.
Rio was taken to our vet hospital in November 2016 simply because he seemed not his normal self. He had no symptoms, no cough and not off his food. He was treated for a possible infection, though his blood panel was normal. The next day he was given more antibiotics due to a slight rise in temperature. He was bathed and groomed that day before his next scheduled appointment, yet still no symptoms.
He was admitted on the next day due to abnormal chest sounds. He had X-rays showing fluid in his perineal cavity. 800 mls of fluid were removed initially and sent off for culture. It was thought he may have a lung tumor. A CT scan was then performed but the chyle kept on building up to a point that his system could no longer cope with the onslaught. We lost him within three hours of admission, but at least the vet allowed us to say our goodbyes before he finally passed.
His brother died three months later on the anniversary of his Crufts win from the same condition. We also know his sister died from sudden collapse just after Rio's death.
Rio (Harlextan Hats Of To Rio) 26/05/2013 still missed.
- Christina Douglas