Assessing a new treatment for chylothorax in dogs

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For questions and more information about this study, please contact the team using the information below.
Study coordinator
Name - Dr. Philip Mayhew
Email -
Phone - (530) 752-1393

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"Help us evaluate a new treatment for too much chylous fluid in the chest of dogs!"
Animal: Dogs
Age: None specified
Keywords: chylothorax, dog, canine, treatment, surgery
Type: Device / Surgical Technique
20 Participants
Background and purpose
The traditional combination of thoracic duct ligation and pericardectomy has been performed for many years. However, without good evidence of pericardial disease, the pericardectomy may not be necessary. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of doing a complete thoracic duct ligation alone in resolving chyle accumulation and provide a better understanding of the physiological response to thoracic duct ligation in dogs with idiopathic chylothorax.
What happens in this study
  • A computed tomography (CT) study under anesthesia to assess your dog’s lymphatic anatomy and then cardiac catheterization procedure and echocardiogram to rule out significant pericardial disease
  • If no significant pericardial disease is present, your dog will be enrolled in the study.
  • On the following day: Complete thoracic duct ligation, near-infrared fluorescence imaging and a second CT study under anesthesia to confirm complete occlusion of all thoracic duct chyle flow

Follow-up visits: * Three to 6-months post-surgery for a follow-up CT study * Nine months to 1-year post-surgery for chest x-rays

Pet owner responsibilities

If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing the dog to the VMTH for all study-related visits. Additionally, you will need to cover any costs related to complications and some of the costs associated with the surgical procedure (e.g., surgical procedure and related fees, anesthesia for surgery, ICU fees and hospitalization fees associated with the first visit).

Participation requirements

We are looking for dogs diagnosed with idiopathic chylothorax. We cannot include dogs that have been diagnosed with any significant degree of pericardial disease or other underlying etiologies (non-idiopathic chylothorax).

Prior to being accepted into the study, patients will have to get a thorough diagnostic assessment to rule out underlying causes and confirm a diagnosis of idiopathic chylothorax (IC), which must include a complete blood count and biochemistry screen completed within a month from the date of surgery. Triglyceride levels assayed in the serum and in the pleural effusion must confirm the diagnosis of IC and a heart worm antigen test must be negative. Patients must also have undergone thoracic radiographs and abdominal ultrasonography.

Benefits and risks of participating
Results from this study will provide us with a better understanding of your dog’s lymphatic anatomy and disease state, aid in longer-term management of this component of his or her clinical signs, and may influence treatment of other dogs with chylothorax in the future.
The study will cover costs for some of the diagnostic tests and a portion of the surgical procedure, including the echocardiogram, near-infrared intraoperative imaging, cardiac catheterization procedures, all CT studies, hospitalization for the second visit to the hospital, and the anesthesia fees at the second visit (at 3-6 months post-operatively). Additionally, the study will provide a $1000 credit towards the cost of the surgical procedures.
PDF Docs
Clinical Trial Informational Flyer
Study duration and period
Your dog would be hospitalized on the first visit for diagnostic imaging studies and surgery. At 3-6 months post-operatively there would be one more outpatient or one night stay at the hospital. At 9-12 months we would ask that you have a set of chest x-rays performed either at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital or at your local veterinarian’s office.
Recruitment period
From Nov. 4, 2016 to Nov. 4, 2018
UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
1 Garrod Drive
Small Animal Clinic - Soft Tissue Surgery
Davis, CA 95616
Dr. Philip Mayhew

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