6-Year-Old MN German Shepherd

Signalment & History

A 6 year old MN German Shepherd presents for cough, dyspnea and tachypnea. On your physical examination, the respiratory rate was 60 breaths per minute, and no crackles or wheezes are ausculted. The remaining physical examination findings are normal.

Left lateral thorax Right lateral thorax VD thorax


The cardiac silhouette is moderately decreased in size, measuring approximately 2 intercostal spaces (normal cardiac silhouette width in dogs is 2.5-3.5 intercostal spaces), and lacks sternal contact in the left lateral view. The caudal vena cava appears subjectively thin. The right cranial lung lobe bronchus is diffusely and mild to moderately dilated (pink lines). There is diffuse airway wall mineralization (green arrows). The small pulmonary vessels contribute to the overall decrease in lung opacity. There is generalized, small pulmonary vessels that contribute to the overall decrease in lung opacity. Within the soft tissues dorsal to the thorax, there is a well-defined, granular mineral opaque structure.


This patient is diagnosed with bronchial wall mineralization and right cranial lobe bronchiectasis; considerations include chronic airway disease or age-related changed. Small cardiac silhouette, caudal vena cava, and pulmonary vessels (decreased lung opacity) indicate hypovolemia, dehydration, and less likely a variation of normal. The mineralized mass over the dorsum may be a granuloma or due to dystrophic mineralization.



  • Characterized by irreversible dilatation of the bronchi and/or bronchioles resulting from chronic airway inflammation and damages elastic components of bronchi leading to bronchial wall destruction and impaired clearance of respiratory secretions
  • Two different forms
    • Saccular (cystic)
      • Focal saccular dilatations or cyst-like structures
    • Cylindrical (tubular)
      • Tubular bronchial dilatation without tapering toward the periphery
  • The right cranial lung lobe is the most commonly involved lobe.
  • Cylindrical bronchiectasis is more common than saccular bronchiectasis.
  • Allergic airway disease has been associated with bronchiectasis.
  • Prognosis: Fair to good.


Hawkins EC, Basseches J, et al. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic features of bronchiectasis in dogs: 316 cases (1988-2000). J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003; 223(11):1628-1635

Myer W, Burt JK. Bronchiectasis in the Dog: Its Radiographic Appearance. Veterinary Radiology 1973;14(2):3–12

Cannon MS, Johnson LR, et al. Quantitative and qualitative computed tomographic characteristics of bronchiectasis in 12 dogs. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2013;54(4):351-357.