In this VETgirl online veterinary CE blog, we demonstrate how to perform a thoracocentesis (In this case, it was on a 2-year-old Labrador that had a penetrating chest injury, resulting in a pneumothorax). Using aseptic preparation of the lateral thoracic region, we use a thoracocentesis set up (e.g., 20 gauge needle attached to an extension set, 3-way stopcock, and 60 ml syringe) to gently penetrate the pleural space (e.g., cranial to the rib, 7-9th intercostal space). Sedation or local anesthesia is not typically necessary during this procedure.
Typically, this requires 2-3 people to assist you – one to gently restrain the dog, one to hold the needle within the pleural space (veterinarian), and one to evacuate the syringe and control the 3-way stopcock). This is a life-saving procedure that veterinarians must feel comfortable performing!