Pneumatosis of the intestines, colon and liver in a young cat

Kristen M. Hutchinson, Kelly Tart, Kari L. Anderson, Lisa L. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


To describe a case of naturally occurring pneumatosis intestinalis, pneumatosis coli and emphysematous hepatitis in a cat. A 9-month-old, indoors-only, female spayed, domestic medium hair cat presented for vomiting, open-mouth breathing and acute collapse. The initial physical examination identified moderate to severe hypothermia [35°C (95°F)], obtunded mentation, weak femoral pulses, tachycardia (heart rate 240 beats per min), pale pink mucous membranes and significant splenomegaly on abdominal palpation. Immediate diagnostics performed [packed cell volume and total solids (PCV, TS), venous blood gas and electrolytes] revealed severe anaemia (PCV 12%), hypoproteinaemia (TS = 2.2 g/dl), and severe metabolic acidosis (pH 6.956). Additional diagnostics performed included Feline Leukaemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus testing (FeLV/FIV), complete blood count (CBC) with pathology review, serum biochemistry profile, prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT), urinalysis, and abdominal radiographs. Abdominal radiographs were consistent with gas within hepatic and splenic veins and parenchyma, small intestinal walls and colonic wall. Due to the guarded prognosis, euthanasia was elected. Necropsy was performed and the most significant gross and histopathological findings included intra-luminal and intra-mural intestinal haemorrhage and vascular congestion with mild neutrophilic hepatitis, and marked hepatic periportal emphysema. Clostridium perfrigens and Escherichia coli were cultured from the bowel wall; no bacterial growth from the liver or spleen was identified. This case report describes idiopathic emphysematous hepatitis, with concurrent emphysema of the spleen and intestinal wall and intestinal haemorrhage. To the authors’ knowledge, this type of pathology in a feline patient has not been previously described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-158
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Medicine and Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

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© 2018 The Authors.


  • Emphysematous
  • Hepatic portal venous gas (HPVG)
  • Pneumatosis


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