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  • Author or Editor: Margaret A. Booth x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


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.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association