Objective—To assess the effectiveness of the vertebral heart scale (VHS) system to differentiate congestive heart failure from other causes of dyspnea in cats.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—67 cats with acute respiratory distress.
Procedures—Medical records of client-owned cats evaluated on an emergency basis because of acute respiratory distress during a 1-year period were reviewed. For study inclusion, cats must have undergone evaluation with echocardiography and thoracic radiography within 12 hours after hospital admission. The VHS was calculated for each cat by 2 investigators. Signalment, physical examination, and echocardiographic findings were reviewed for each patient.
Results—There was 83% agreement overall between the 2 investigators in assessment of cardiomegaly in cats with dyspnea (κ = 0.49). The VHS cutpoints were the same for both observers in terms of optimizing sensitivity and specificity. A VHS of > 8.0 vertebrae was the best cutpoint when screening for heart disease, whereas a VHS of > 9.3 vertebrae was very specific for the presence of heart disease. Measurements between 8.0 and 9.3 vertebrae suggested the cause of dyspnea was equivocal (ie, secondary to congestive heart failure or respiratory disease), in which case echocardiography would be most useful in providing additional diagnostic information.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that the VHS system may be a useful tool to help differentiate cardiac from noncardiac causes of respiratory distress in cats in an emergency situation when an echocardiogram is not available or is not plausible in an unstable patient.
Objective—To report the outcome of minimally invasive surgical treatment of heartworm caval syndrome in a series of dogs and to provide information on long-term survival of patients with this condition.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—42 client-owned dogs with a diagnosis of heartworm caval syndrome.
Procedures—Information on history, clinical, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging findings and treatment was obtained from medical records. When possible, additional follow-up information was obtained through telephone interviews with referring veterinarians and owners.
Results—Of the 42 dogs with caval syndrome, 21 underwent minimally invasive surgical treatment consisting of transvenous heartworm extraction. Two of the 21 dogs died during the procedure, and after surgery, 4 died. Following induction of anesthesia, heartworms migrated into the distal portion of the pulmonary artery in 1 dog; therefore, extraction was not attempted. Transvenous heartworm extraction was completed successfully in 14 dogs, and all 14 of these dogs were discharged from the hospital. Mean follow-up time in these 14 dogs was 24.4 ± 17.7 months with a range of 2 to 56 months. At the time of final follow-up, 10 of these 14 dogs had survived at least 18 months and 7 had survived > 24 months. By the end of the study, 1 dog was lost to follow-up and 3 had been euthanatized for unrelated reasons.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of the study reported here suggest that dogs with caval syndrome that undergo successful transvenous heartworm extraction and survive to discharge have a good long-term prognosis.
Case Description—A 3-year-old sexually intact male Standard Poodle was admitted to the veterinary teaching hospital for transcatheter closure of a large atrial septal defect (ASD).
Clinical Findings—The dog had exercise intolerance and was thin. Findings on physical examination were within normal limits with the exception of a left base systolic heart murmur (grade 5/6). The dog was not receiving any medications. Echocardiography and thoracic radiography confirmed the diagnosis of ASD and revealed compensatory changes consistent with a large left to right shunting ASD. Results of serum biochemical analysis and CBC were within reference range limits.
Treatment and Outcome—Transcatheter ASD closure with an atrial septal occluder (ASO) was performed and failed. An open heart surgical approach under cardiopulmonary bypass was declined by the dog's owners. The dog underwent a novel hybrid approach involving active device fixation under temporary inflow occlusion after transatrial device deployment. The dog recovered with some manageable postoperative complications. As of the last follow-up examination, the dog had 10 months of event-free survival.
Clinical Relevance—Transcatheter closure by use of an ASO and open heart patch repair with cardiopulmonary bypass to surgically treat dogs with ASD has been reported. Transcatheter closure is not possible in dogs with large ASD. The novel hybrid procedure reported herein represented a viable alternative to euthanasia.
Objective—To determine the effect of PO administration of pimobendan on clinical and echocardiographic variables and survival time in cats with heart failure characterized by ventricular systolic dysfunction.
Design—Retrospective cohort study.
Animals—27 client-owned cats (16 male and 11 female) with heart failure, treated with pimobendan (mean ± SD dosage, 0.26 ± 0.08 mg/kg [0.118 ± 0.036 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h).
Procedures—Information on medical history, laboratory results, diagnostic imaging findings, treatments received, and survival time were obtained from medical records of cats that received pimobendan because of cardiac disease. When possible, additional follow-up information was obtained through telephone interviews with referring veterinarians and owners.
Results—The mean ± SD age of all 27 cats was 8.9 ± 5.2 years. All cats had received several cardiac medications. Types of heart disease represented included unclassified cardiomyopathy (CM; n = 11 [41%]), dilated CM (8 [30%]), arrhythmogenic right ventricular CM (4 [15%]), congenital heart disease (3 [11 %]), and hypertrophic CM with regional hypokinesis (1 [4%]). All cats had ventricular systolic dysfunction. One cat with systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve became severely hypotensive after initial administration of pimobendan and was excluded from the survival analysis. Median survival time was 167 days (95% confidence interval, 32 to 339 days).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Pimobendan appeared to be well tolerated in cats with heart failure characterized by ventricular systolic dysfunction of various etiologies. Cats with systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve may develop systemic hypotension when treated with pimobendan. Additional studies are needed to establish dosages for pimobendan and its effects before it can be recommended for treatment of cats with CHF.