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Objective

To determine prevalence of heartworm infection in a population of pet cats with cardiorespiratory abnormalities and to determine relative usefulness of clinical signs and tests in diagnosis of heartworm disease.

Design

Prospective case series.

Animals

100 client-owned cats with clinical signs of cardiorespiratory abnormalities.

Procedure

Cats were evaluated using CBC, modified Knott test, ELISA for serologic detection of heartworm antigen and antibodies to heartworms, thoracic radiography, and echocardiography. Cats were considered infected if they had circulating microfilaria, heartworm antigens in serum, or if heartworms were detected by echocardiography or on necropsy. Cats were considered suspicious for infection if they had 2 of the following: serum antibodies to heartworms, eosinophilia or basophilia, or indicative radiographic findings.

Results

9 cats were infected with heartworms, resulting in a prevalence of 9%; 26 cats had evidence of heartworm exposure (ie, serum antibodies to heartworms). Twenty cats were considered suspicious for heartworm infection. Some outdoor exposure was reported twice as often in heartworm-infected cats, compared with noninfected and suspicious cats. However, a third of infected cats were reportedly housed totally indoors. Cough and dyspnea were strong indicators of heartworm disease. Eight of 9 infected cats had serum antibodies to heartworms and heartworm antigen in serum. Thoracic radiography and echocardiography indicated heartworm infection in 6 and 7 of the 9 cats, respectively.

Clinical Implications

Cough or dyspnea may indicate heartworm disease in cats; serologic tests, echocardiography, and radiography are most useful diagnostic procedures. Although living indoors is protective, it may not preclude heartworm infection in cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998; 212:517-520)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

The role of digoxin in treatment of cats with dilated cardiomyopathy and other forms of myocardial failure is unclear. We evaluated the chronotropic and inotropic effects of digoxin by comparing baseline, noninvasive indices of cardiac performance with those obtained after 9 ± 1.3 (mean ± SEM) days of digoxin treatment in 6 cats with heart failure attributable to dilated cardiomyopathy. Two-dimensionally directed, M-mode echocardiography and electrocardiography were used to determine left ventricular shortening fraction, preejection period (PEP), ejection time (LVET), PEP to LVET ratio, velocity of circumferential fiber shortening, electromechanical systole, heart rate, and PR interval.

Treatment consisted of administration of furosemide (mean dosage, 2.4 mg/kg of body weight/day), digoxin in tablet form (approximately 0.01 mg/kg, q 48 h), aspirin (80 mg, q 48 h), and a commercial low-salt diet. In addition, 2 cats were administered short-term, low-dose fluids IV, and 2 were given taurine supplementation at rates of 500 and 1,000 mg/day. Other off-loading or inotropic agents were not administered.

Therapeutic or toxic serum digoxin concentration was achieved in all cats. Significant (P < 0.05) improvement was detected in mean values for shortening fraction, PEP, PEP to LVET ratio, and velocity of circumferential fiber shortening. Mean electromechanical systole and LVET did not change significantly. Improvement, as assessed by indices of cardiac function, was documented in 4 of the 6 cats treated with digoxin, including the 2 cats given taurine supplementation. In the cats given taurine, positive inotropic effect was observed prior to the time when taurine-induced improvement in ventricular function is detectable. Because increase in preload or decrease in afterload was not observed or was not likely, improved ventricular function was thought to be related to digoxin's positive inotropic effect. Digitalization did not significantly decrease mean heart rate, but was associated with a significant (P < 0.05) mean PR interval prolongation of 28 ms.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Case Description—2 cats were examined because of congestive heart failure secondary to heartworm infection.

Clinical Findings—One cat had severe abdominal distention and the other had dyspnea secondary to chylothorax. Both had loud right-sided heart murmurs, precordial thrills, and jugular distension. Thoracic radiography revealed cardiomegaly and enlarged caudal pulmonary arteries. Echocardiography revealed tricuspid regurgitation and multiple hyperechoic structures consistent with adult Dirofilaria immitis within the right atrium, right ventricle, and main pulmonary artery. Pulmonary hypertension was documented by means of Doppler echocardiography in 1 cat.

Treatment and Outcome—Cats were anesthetized, and a nitinol gooseneck snare catheter was introduced into the right side of the heart via a jugular venotomy. In the first cat, the snare was used to retrieve 5 female and 2 male adult D immitis. The catheter was then passed into the main pulmonary artery in an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve remaining heartworms. In the second cat, 2 adult female D immitis were removed from the right atrium with the nitinol snare. In both cats, clinical signs resolved within 4 weeks after the procedure.

Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that use of a nitinol gooseneck snare catheter may be a safe and effective technique for removing adult D immitis from the right atrium and ventricle in cats and that successful removal of adult heartworms in infected cats may resolve clinical signs of right-sided congestive heart failure and chylothorax. In addition, findings in 1 cat suggested that removal of all adult heartworms may not be necessary for clinical signs to resolve.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To develop and compare the reliability of 2 methods of scoring pelvic limb gait in dogs recovering from thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries and to use this scoring system to determine the rate and level of functional recovery of dogs with acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk herniations.

Animals—46 dogs with spinal cord injuries resulting from intervertebral disk herniations.

Procedure—Dogs' gaits were videotaped at different time intervals after injury. In phase 1 of the study, the stages of recovery of pelvic limb function were identified, and a numeric scoring system was devised to reflect that recovery. In phase 2, pelvic limb gait was scored by different observers, using a numeric and a visual analog scale. Intra- and interobserver coefficients of variability of both methods were compared. In phase 3, pelvic limb function was scored, using the numeric scale at various intervals after acute thoracolumbar disk herniations.

Results—The numeric scale was significantly more reliable than the visual analog scale when both intraand interobserver coefficients of variability were evaluated. Dogs that were paraplegic with no deep pain sensation recovered at different rates during the first 3 months, whereas dogs that were paraplegic with deep pain sensation typically recovered within 1 month of injury.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Pelvic limb gait of dogs recovering from thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries can be reliably quantified, using a numeric scale. This scale will facilitate the performance of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcome of acute spinal cord injuries. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1624–1628)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize features of myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in Miniature Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers.

ANIMALS

69 Miniature Schnauzers and 65 Yorkshire Terriers, each with MMVD.

PROCEDURES

Medical record data for each dog were collected; the study period was January 2007 through December 2016. If available, radiographic data were evaluated, and a vertebral heart scale score was assigned for each dog. Statistical analysis was performed with Student t and Fisher exact tests.

RESULTS

Compared with Yorkshire Terriers, the prevalence of MMVD was significantly higher in Miniature Schnauzers and affected dogs were significantly younger at the time of diagnosis. Miniature Schnauzers were significantly more likely to have mitral valve prolapse and syncope, compared with Yorkshire Terriers. Yorkshire Terriers were significantly more likely to have coughing and have had previous or current treatment with cardiac medications, compared with Miniature Schnauzers. There was no statistical difference between breeds with regard to abnormally high vertebral heart scale scores or radiographic evidence of congestive heart failure.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

With regard to MMVD, features of the disease among Miniature Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers were similar, but there were also a few discernable differences between these 2 breeds and from historical findings for dogs with MMVD of other breeds. Clinical signs at the time of diagnosis differed between the 2 breeds, which may have reflected concurrent breed-specific conditions (sick sinus syndrome or airway disease [eg, tracheal collapse]). Future work should include prospective studies to provide additional information regarding the natural progression of MMVD in these dog breeds.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To describe the historical, clinical, and echocardiographic findings in Dalmatians with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Design

Retrospective case series.

Sample Population

9 Dalmatians with a diagnosis of DCM and congestive heart failure (CHF), 9 Doberman Pinschers with DCM and CHF, and 9 dogs of other breeds with DCM and CHF.

Procedure

Disease history; signalment; physical, radiographic, and echocardiographic examination findings; treatment; and outcome from medical records were analyzed.

Results

All Dalmatians were male, with a mean age of 6.8 years. Eight dogs had been fed a commercially available low-protein diet formulated for the prevention of urate uroliths. All dogs had clinical signs consistent with left-sided CHF and had marked left ventricular systolic dysfunction and severe left ventricular dilatation, although arrhythmias were not an important finding in this series of dogs. Median duration of survival was 10 months.

Clinical Implications

The DCM syndrome in Dalmatians has some qualities that are distinct from DCM in other breeds of dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1592–1596)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effect of 4 antiarrhythmic treatment protocols on number of ventricular premature complexes (VPC), severity of arrhythmia, heart rate (HR), and number of syncopal episodes in Boxers with ventricular tachyarrhythmias.

Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Animals—49 Boxers.

Procedure—Dogs with > 500 VPC/24 h via 24-hour ambulatory ECG (AECG) were treated with atenolol (n = 11), procainamide (11), sotalol (16), or mexiletine and atenolol (11) for 21 to 28 days. Results of pre- and posttreatment AECG were compared with regard to number of VPC/24 h; maximum, mean, and minimum HR; severity of arrhythmia; and occurrence of syncope.

Results—Significant differences between pre- and posttreatment number of VPC, severity of arrhythmia, HR variables, or occurrence of syncope were not observed in dogs treated with atenolol or procainamide. Significant reductions in number of VPC, severity of arrythmia, and maximum and mean HR were observed in dogs treated with mexiletineatenolol or sotalol; occurrence of syncope was not significantly different between these 2 treatment groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Treatment with sotalol or mexiletine-atenolol was well tolerated and efficacious. Treatment with procainamide or atenolol was not effective. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:522–527)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association