Treating edema in dogs and cats

It is easier for the body to prevent edema fluid from forming that it is to mobilize existing fluid. The initial management of treating pulmonary edema in dogs and cats should be aggressive. Once the edema has resolved, the body's own compensatory mechanisms become more effective and the intensity of therapeutic interventions can often be decreased.

All dogs and cats with pulmonary edema are treated with cage rest and minimal stress. Dogs and cats with significant hypoxemia should receive oxygen therapy. Positive pressure ventilation is required in several cases. Methylxanthine bronchodilators may also be beneficial in dogs and cats edema treatment. They are mild diuretics and also decrease bronchospasms and, possibly, respiratory muscle fatigue.

Diuretics are indicated for the treatment of most forms of edema in dogs and cats but are not used in hypovolemic animals. Dogs and cats with hypovolemia actually require conservative fluid supplementation. If this is necessary to maintain the vascular volume in animals with cardiac impairment or decreased oncotic pressure, then positive inotropic agents or plasma infusions, respectively, are necessary.

Edema caused by hypoalbuminemia in dogs and cats is treated with plasma or colloid infusions. However, the plasma protein concentration do not need to reach normal levels for edema to decrease. Furosemide can be administered to more quickly mobilize the fluid from the lungs, but clinical dehydration and hypovolemie must be prevented. Diagnostic and therapeutic efforts are directed at the underlying disease.

The prognosis for dogs and cats with edema depends on the severity of the edema and the ability to eliminate or control the underlying problem. Aggressive management early in the course of edema formation improves the prognosis for dogs and cats with any given disease.

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