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Ischemic necrosis of the digits and hyperlipidemia associated with atherosclerosis in a Miniature American Shepherd

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  • 1 Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island, 75 Sunrise Hwy N Service Rd, West Islip, NY 11795.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 4 Department of Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 5 Department of Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 6 Department of Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 2.5-year-old 12-kg (26.4-lb) castrated male Miniature American Shepherd was referred because of a 3-week history of a localized crusted skin lesion on the digital pad of digit 3 of the right hind limb.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Skin lesions were noted on the digital pads of the right hind limb. Serum biochemical analyses indicated severe hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia. Ultrasonography of the terminal portion of the aorta and other major arterial vessels revealed substantial arteriosclerotic change.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Medical treatments included administration of atorvastatin calcium, a low-fat diet, and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce serum lipids concentration; clopidogrel to prevent thrombosis; pentoxifylline to improve microcirculatory blood flow; clomipramine hydrochloride and trazodone hydrochloride to help with the behavioral problems; and gabapentin to help with pain management and behavioral problems. Surgical management included amputation of the initial digit involved, then eventually the entire initial limb involved. The response to treatment was poor, and euthanasia was elected. Postmortem findings revealed severe, widespread, and chronic intimal atherosclerosis; mild, widespread, and degenerative changes in the cerebral cortex; and edema and vascular congestion in the meninges.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE To the authors' knowledge, this was the first report of skin necrosis secondary to atherosclerosis in a dog. Although the incidence of atherosclerosis has been considered very low in dogs, it should be investigated in dogs with severe hyperlipidemia. Primary hyperlipidemia has not been previously described in Miniature American Shepherd dogs but was the suspected underlying metabolic disorder.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 2.5-year-old 12-kg (26.4-lb) castrated male Miniature American Shepherd was referred because of a 3-week history of a localized crusted skin lesion on the digital pad of digit 3 of the right hind limb.

CLINICAL FINDINGS Skin lesions were noted on the digital pads of the right hind limb. Serum biochemical analyses indicated severe hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia. Ultrasonography of the terminal portion of the aorta and other major arterial vessels revealed substantial arteriosclerotic change.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Medical treatments included administration of atorvastatin calcium, a low-fat diet, and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce serum lipids concentration; clopidogrel to prevent thrombosis; pentoxifylline to improve microcirculatory blood flow; clomipramine hydrochloride and trazodone hydrochloride to help with the behavioral problems; and gabapentin to help with pain management and behavioral problems. Surgical management included amputation of the initial digit involved, then eventually the entire initial limb involved. The response to treatment was poor, and euthanasia was elected. Postmortem findings revealed severe, widespread, and chronic intimal atherosclerosis; mild, widespread, and degenerative changes in the cerebral cortex; and edema and vascular congestion in the meninges.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE To the authors' knowledge, this was the first report of skin necrosis secondary to atherosclerosis in a dog. Although the incidence of atherosclerosis has been considered very low in dogs, it should be investigated in dogs with severe hyperlipidemia. Primary hyperlipidemia has not been previously described in Miniature American Shepherd dogs but was the suspected underlying metabolic disorder.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Diaz (diaz.57@osu.edu).