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A CHRONIC respiratory illness, typified by inspiratory crackles and an increased interstitial pattern on thoracic radiography, has been recognised to be particularly prevalent in West Highland white terriers (WHWTs) (Corcoran and others 1999a, b, Lobetti and others 2001, Webb and Armstrong 2002). It has been suggested that this condition may be analogous to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in human beings, but there is currently no pathological proof to support this assertion. Nevertheless, this clinical presentation is commonly recognised in veterinary practice and the clinical features of the disease have been previously reported, but only in retrospective studies (Corcoran and others 1999a, b, Lobetti and others 2001, Webb and Armstrong 2002). The purpose of the present study was to use a prospective cross-sectional approach to better define and improve the clinical description of this group of WHWTs. For the purpose of this report the term chronic pulmonary disease (CPD) will be used.
Cases of suspected CPD were recruited at the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Pennsylvania veterinary schools over a three-year period. For inclusion in the study, dogs had to have clinical evidence of chronic progressive respiratory disease, readily detectable crackles on thoracic auscultation and no evidence of significant cardiac disease. The minimum information required included clinical history, physical examination, haematology and biochemistry profiles, and thoracic radiography, high-resolution CT (HRCT), bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage with cytological analysis, under general anaesthesia. Bronchoscopic evaluation was predominantly used to assess for evidence of chronic bronchitis and dynamic airway collapse (Fig 1).