To investigate disparities in hepatic copper concentrations determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and digital image analysis of rhodanine-stained sections.
Medical records of dogs for which hepatic biopsy specimens had been submitted between January 1999 and December 2019 for evaluation of copper content were reviewed. Paired hepatic copper concentrations obtained with digital image analysis and AAS or ICP-MS were compared, and Spearman rank correlation coefficients were calculated to test for correlations between qualitative copper accumulation scores and hepatic copper concentrations. For dogs for which ≥ 4 rhodanine-stained hepatic sections were available, intraindividual variation in copper distribution across hepatic sections was evaluated.
Median hepatic copper concentrations obtained with digital image analysis exceeded concentrations obtained with AAS or ICP-MS. Concentrations were also higher in older dogs (≥ 9 years vs < 9 years), dogs of breeds with a typical body weight ≥ 20 kg (44 lb), and dogs with necroinflammatory changes or uneven copper distribution. Qualitative copper accumulation scores were significantly associated with hepatic copper concentrations; however, the correlation between qualitative score and concentration obtained with digital image analysis (rs = 0.94) was higher than the correlation between qualitative score and concentration obtained with AAS (rs = 0.75) or ICP-MS (rs = 0.57). The coefficient of variation for hepatic copper concentrations obtained with digital image analysis was significantly higher for dogs with higher hepatic copper concentrations.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results suggested that spectroscopic-spectrometric analysis of hepatic biopsy specimens commonly underestimated the concentration obtained by digital image analysis of rhodanine-stained sections.
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.