Chylothorax Research

The Afghan Hound Club of America is responsible for protecting and preserving the Afghan Hound breed not only by adhering to the breed standard, but by being aware of the health of the breed. In 2005, Dr. Jonathan McAnulty spoke at our National Specialty concerning health issues which included Chylothorax. Today the Afghan Hound is one of the most affected breeds for this disease not thirteen years later. The Parent Club is putting into motion a research study into this disease, and we are working with Dr. Gary Johnson of the University of Missouri, who will conduct the research, and in conjunction with the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the OFA to accomplish this study.

About Chylothorax

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.

Research Participation

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.

5/5 Chylothorax Samples Submitted

Step #1

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.

Step #2

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.

Additional Reading

Fund Raising

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:

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
Chest Tube for Draining Chyle

Memorial Gallery

Do you have questions about Chylothorax, the research or how you can help?  Please use the form below to contact the AHCA Health Chairperson, Anna Tyler.