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Companion Animal Practice
Surgical approach to a ruptured diaphragm in the cat
  1. Carolyn Burton

    Carolyn Burton graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1991. She is currently enrolled on a doctorate, studying the aetiology and pathogenesis of patent ductus venosus in the Irish wolfhound, and continues her clinical work performing cardiothoracic and portosystemic shunt surgery at the RVC. She holds certificates in veterinary anaesthesia and small animal surgery.

  2. Robert White

    Robert White graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1989. He gained the certificate in veterinary anaesthesia in 1991 and is currently engaged in research into the use of skeletal muscle for cardiac assistance. He is a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and his interests include all aspects of soft tissue surgery, especially cardiothoracic surgery.


DIAPHRAGMATIC rupture is characterised by the protrusion of abdominal viscera into the chest as a result of a breach in the musculotendinous sheet dividing the thoracic and abdominal cavities. This breach is usually the result of blunt trauma involving the abdominal cavity, commonly caused by a blow from a motor vehicle, although falls and attacks from dogs are other possible aetiologies in the cat. Congenital defects in the diaphragm are occasionally found (pericardioperitoneal hernias, hiatal hernias and, more rarely, pleuroperitoneal hernias). This article focuses on the surgical management of traumatic diaphragmatic rupture in the cat.

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