Airway injury associated with cervical bite wounds in dogs and cats: 56 cases

C. J. Jordan, Z. J. Halfacree, M. S. Tivers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the frequency of airway injury and damage to other vital structures associated with cervical bite wounds in dogs and cats and the implications for management and outcome. Methods: A retrospective search of electronic patient records was used to identify dogs and cats suffering cervical bite wounds that were presented to a large multidisciplinary veterinary hospital over a four year period. Results: Complete records were available for 55 animals, with one animal suffering two separate injuries. Fourteen animals (25%) had injuries to vital structures, including airway injury in nine (17%) which was surgically confirmed and treated in six (11%). Airway injuries were associated with either sub cutaneous or mediastinal emphysema in all affected animals. Other structures injured included the jugular vein, pharynx, oesophagus and spine. Airway injuries were treated with primary repair in five animals and a fasciomuscular patch in one. Temporary tracheostomy was performed in three animals. Median duration of hospitalisation was one day (0-19) with 53 animals (54 cases) (96%) surviving to discharge. Long-term follow-up (16-114 months) revealed that 43 of 49 animals were alive with six that died due to unrelated reasons. Clinical significance: Cervical bite wounds are associated with significant injury to vital structures. Up to 17% of animals may have injury to their airway. Identification and treatment of airway injury is vital and was associated with an excellent outcome in six animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Airway
  • Bite wounds
  • Cervical
  • Larynx
  • Trachea

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