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Toxic Gases in Respiratory Disease of Cattle


John Campbell

, DVM, DVSc, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Last full review/revision Mar 2015 | Content last modified Mar 2015

Nitrogen dioxide is a major component of silo gas; in people, the disease associated with exposure to NO2 is termed silo filler’s disease. Exposure of cattle results in respiratory distress and necropsy findings of atypical interstitial pneumonia. Treatment is empirical and includes diuretics, corticosteroids, and antibiotics to prevent pneumonia.

Zinc oxide is produced during oxyacetylene cutting or arc welding of galvanized pipes. These activities in closed facilities in which cattle are housed may result in toxicity characterized by respiratory distress. Lesions are similar to those described for atypical interstitial pneumonia. Treatment is as described for nitrogen dioxide toxicity.

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Respiratory Diseases of Small Animals
An obese, 13-year-old, neutered male Pomeranian is brought to the veterinarian because of a cough that has worsened over the last 3 to 4 months. His owner reports that the cough sounds like a “goose honk,” occurs when the dog is excited (e.g., when the doorbell rings), and is unproductive of sputum. The dog then appears to have trouble breathing after coughing. On physical examination, auscultation of the heart and lungs is normal, and the veterinarian is unable to stimulate the cough. The owner declines thoracic x-rays due to financial concerns. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?
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