Szabo D, Sutherland-Smith J, Barton B, et al.
Computed tomography is increasingly being used in veterinary medicine to evaluate animals with pulmonary signs such as coughing, tachypnea, and exercise intolerance, however, a quantitative measure of bronchial wall thickening has yet to be validated in veterinary medicine. Canine chronic bronchitis is a disease that is characterized histologically by thickening of the bronchial walls. Thoracic CT images of 16 dogs with chronic bronchitis and 72 dogs presenting for conditions unrelated to cough were evaluated. A ratio comparing the bronchial wall thickness to the adjacent pulmonary artery diameter was obtained in the right and left cranial and caudal lung lobes. There was no significant difference in dogs with chronic bronchitis or unaffected dogs between the left and right hemithorax, patient weight, patient age, image slice thickness, or CT machine used. Dogs with chronic bronchitis were found to have a significantly greater ratio than unaffected dogs (P < 0.001). The ratios in the cranial lung lobes were found to be significantly greater than the caudal lung lobes in both chronic bronchitis and unaffected dogs (P < 0.001). A receiver operating characteristic curve of the ratios in the cranial lung lobes had an area under the curve of 0.912, indicating high accuracy in predicting for bronchial wall thickening. A ratio of ≥0.6 in the cranial lung lobes was found to have a sensitivity of 77% and specificity of 100% in predicting for the presence of chronic bronchitis, and we propose using this cut-off as supportive of bronchial wall thickening on CT.