A 15-year-old sexually intact female ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) was evaluated for a heart murmur and progressive radiographic cardiomegaly.
The lemur was clinically normal at the time of initial evaluation. Results of transthoracic echocardiography performed when the animal was anesthetized indicated mitral valve stenosis and severe left atrial dilation. Three months later, signs of left-sided congestive heart failure (CHF; coughing, exercise intolerance, and tachypnea) were observed and confirmed by the presence of radiographic pulmonary edema.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME
Medical treatment that consisted of aspirin, benazepril, furosemide, pimobendan, spironolactone, and ultimately torsemide in lieu of furosemide successfully controlled the lemur's clinical signs for 33 months after the development of CHF. Euthanasia was then elected on the basis of perceived poor quality of life because tachypnea became refractory to progressively higher dosages of diuretic. Necropsy confirmed mitral stenosis with severe left atrial dilation and chronic pulmonary congestion.
The present report described the long-term medical management of CHF secondary to mitral stenosis in a lemur. Mitral stenosis was suspected to be a congenital defect, similar to the cause of mitral stenosis reported for dogs and cats, rather than to be an acquired change in association with rheumatic heart disease as commonly occurs for people. The lemur's CHF was well managed for 33 months with treatment, including pimobendan, which was well tolerated.