Etiology and clinical characteristics of peripheral edema in dogs

The prevalence and clinical characteristics of different etiologies of peripheral edema in dogs are unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of different etiologies of peripheral edema, describe clinical characteristics that vary among etiologies, and report survival times.

Differences in clinical variables among etiology groups were assessed by Kruskal-Wallis testing with post hoc pairwise Dunn's testing and Chi-square testing with Monte Carlo simulation.

Five hundred twenty-seven dogs with peripheral edema were enrolled. The most common etiologies of peripheral edema in dogs were vasculitis (n = 193, 37%), lymphatic/venous obstruction (LVO; 114, 22%), and hypoalbuminemia (94, 18%). Right-sided congestive heart failure (R-CHF) was uncommon (25, 5%). Edema was localized in 377 (72%) dogs and generalized in 142 (27%) dogs, and hypoalbuminemia was more likely to cause generalized edema compared to LVO or vasculitis (P < .0001). Concurrent abdominal effusion (155, 29%) was more common than pleural (77, 15%) or pericardial (12, 2%) effusion. Abdominal and pleural effusion occurred more commonly in dogs with hypoalbuminemia or R-CHF compared to LVO or vasculitis (P < .0001).

Therefore, distribution of edema, concurrent cavitary effusions, and clinicopathological data can help predict the underlying etiology of peripheral edema in dogs.

“Retrospective evaluation of the etiology and clinical characteristics of peripheral edema in dogs”. Bradley D Whelchel, et al. J Vet Intern Med. 2023 Jul 15.  doi: 10.1111/jvim.16815. 

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