Auscult the Lungs
Auscultation of the lungs in small ruminants
is often not indicative of the extent or severity of respiratory disease.
Normal bronchovesicular sounds are quite harsh in the small ruminant. The
lung field is narrow in comparison the the equine and care should be taken to
listen well forward under the elbow since anterior ventral consolidation is
common in lower respiratory disease. The depth of respiration is often
overlooked. Short, shallow breaths often indicate pleural pain and may not
be associated with obvious abnormal lung sounds. Eliciting a cough by
tracheal palpation indicates tracheobronchitis. Rectal temperature,
respiratory rate and effort, nasal discharge, and the presence of a cough can be
more indicative of lower respiratory tract disease than auscultation
findings. Radiographic examination and transtracheal wash are easily
performed in the small ruminant patient.
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