Traumatic pericarditis is one of the most significant bovine cardiac diseases. The authors describe the use of intraoperative echocardiography and successful surgical treatment of a case of traumatic pericarditis. A seven-year-old Hungarian Simmental dairy cow in late pregnancy showed severe oedema of the throat region and brisket, as well as jugular distension. Cardiac auscultation demonstrated tachycardia with a normal cardiac rhythm. The heart sounds were muffled, but no cardiac murmur or splashing sounds were heard. A large amount of echogenic fluid with some strands of fibrin was seen in the pericardial and right pleural cavities by ultrasonography. Ultrasound-guided pericardiocentesis demonstrated the presence of a thick, fetid and purulent exudate. Pericardiotomy was performed in standing position with sedation and local anaesthesia. After costal resection, intraoperative echocardiography was performed. It showed an echogenic tract between the caudal pericardium and diaphragm, but no foreign body was seen. Two weeks after the surgery, the cow delivered a healthy bull-calf. Intraoperative echocardiography - not reported earlier - can be applied to evaluate the entire bovine pericardial sac and heart. The report also demonstrates that surgical treatment of traumatic pericarditis can be successful in carefully selected cases.
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