Thoracic surgery in the cat is considered to be advanced surgery. Practices should have resources and personnel confident in performing intermittent positive pressure ventilation in cats when considering a thoracotomy, in addition to the capability of providing appropriate pre- and postoperative care. Cats are prone to pleural conditions, many of which may be managed medically after drainage and placement of a thoracic drain, but in some instances surgical intervention is required, e.g., in cases of chylothorax or pyothorax that are unresponsive to medical management.
In the first section of this part of the book the chapters cover the region of the pleural cavity, with the first two chapters covering the basics of thoracotomy and thoracoscopy in the cat. In subsequent chapters specific conditions of the pleural cavity and thoracic wall are discussed and their surgical management described. Trauma to the thoracic wall in cats (from vehicles, dog bites or gunshot) is common and resulting wounds may necessitate thoracic wall reconstruction. In the final chapter, conditions of the diaphragm are covered, the most common of which is diaphragmatic rupture. The management of this condition usually involves a celiotomy but as the thoracic cavity is effectively open during surgery then aspects of thoracic surgery, particularly the anesthestic management, are important additional considerations.
In the second section of this part of the book the chapters focus on cardiorespiratory surgery. In the first chapter, surgical management of tracheal and bronchial conditions is described. Cats with respiratory disease are often not diagnosed until the condition is far advanced as some of the clinical signs such as exercise intolerance can be overlooked or may not be clearly evident. Tracheal avulsion or rupture is a condition seen in cats that can cause overt clinical signs several weeks after its occurrence. Surgical correction is usually successful with good technique if careful attention is paid to the anesthetic management. The surgeon performing lung lobectomy is advised to read the chapter on thoracotomy first, prior to the chapter specifically related to conditions of the lung. The final chapter in the book describes diseases and surgical management of conditions of the heart. Although surgical management is not commonly indicated for disease of this organ, descriptions of some of the more frequently encountered cardiac conditions are included e.g., management of a patent ductus arteriosus, pericardectomy, and placement of an epicardial pacemaker.