Background: Subcutaneous emphysema (SCE) is a common occurrence in emergency veterinary practice, but published information regarding treatment and management strategies is lacking. This study examined trends in diagnostic and treatment recommendations. Study design:An internet-based survey with cross-sectional analysis. There were 129 respondents: board-certified and nonboard-certified veterinarians in private practice and university settings.Key findings: Significant differences in the choice of diagnostics and treatment were found based on the etiology and severity of SCE and between respondent groups. Computed tomography (CT) was selected more frequently for SCE resulting from blunt or penetrating traumas by the board-certified veterinarians practicing in a teaching hospital (VTH group; P < 0.001). All veterinarians were more likely to select tracheobronchoscopy as part of their workup for SCE as a result of endotracheal intubation trauma (P = 0.0093 [penetrating traumas]; P = 0.0002 [blunt force traumas]). Intermittent SC drainage and ventral cervical exploratory surgery were more likely to be chosen as treatments when SCE was classified as severe generalized (P < 0.0001).Significance: There is significant variation in the treatment of SCE in veterinary medicine as well as associated diagnostics to determine severity and treatment options. Further studies are indicated to determine the optimal approach and provide guidance to clinicians.
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