Pulmonary thromboembolism and hypertension after thiacetarsamide vs melarsomine dihydrocholoride treatment of Dirofilaria immitis infection in dogs

Clarence A. Rawlings From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine and of Physiology and Pharmacology (Rawlings), Department of Anatomy and Radiology (Lewis), and the Department of Pathology (Duncan), College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Rhone-Merieux, Laboratorie de Toulouse, Toulouse Cedex, France (Raynaud).

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Jean Pierre Raynaud From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine and of Physiology and Pharmacology (Rawlings), Department of Anatomy and Radiology (Lewis), and the Department of Pathology (Duncan), College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Rhone-Merieux, Laboratorie de Toulouse, Toulouse Cedex, France (Raynaud).

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Robert E. Lewis From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine and of Physiology and Pharmacology (Rawlings), Department of Anatomy and Radiology (Lewis), and the Department of Pathology (Duncan), College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Rhone-Merieux, Laboratorie de Toulouse, Toulouse Cedex, France (Raynaud).

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J. Robert Duncan From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine and of Physiology and Pharmacology (Rawlings), Department of Anatomy and Radiology (Lewis), and the Department of Pathology (Duncan), College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Rhone-Merieux, Laboratorie de Toulouse, Toulouse Cedex, France (Raynaud).

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Summary

The severity of pulmonary thromboembolism and pulmonary hypertension induced by heartworms dying after administration of 2 adulticides was evaluated. Because melarsomine dihydrochloride (RM340) has been shown to be more effective in killing Dirofilaria immitis (heartworms) than the traditional approved adulticide, thiacetarsamide, an attempt was made to determine whether this new adulticide induced more severe lung disease. Before adulticide treatment, 32 dogs with naturally acquired heartworm infections received physical examinations, semiquantitative antigen concentration tests, cbc, platelet counts, serum biochemistry analyses, arterial blood gas determinations, thoracic radiography, pulmonary arteriography, and pulmonary hemodynamic tests. Eight dogs with a low burden and 9 dogs with a high burden of heartworms were treated with thiacetarsamide, and 7 dogs with a low burden and 8 dogs with a high burden were treated with RM340. Except for the heartworm-burden test, tests were repeated at regular intervals during the first 7 weeks after treatment. None of the dogs coughed or had dyspnea after treatment. Six of 9 dogs with high worm burdens and 4 of 8 dogs with low worm burdens had surviving heartworms after thiacetarsamide treatment, in contrast to only 3 of 15 RM340-treated dogs. Differences between the 2 adulticide treatments were minimal as determined by thoracic radiography, pulmonary hemodynamic tests, clinical laboratory analyses, pulmonary arteriography, or necropsy. The RM340 treatment was a more effective adulticide, but it did not increase the severity of hypertension and thromboembolism.

Summary

The severity of pulmonary thromboembolism and pulmonary hypertension induced by heartworms dying after administration of 2 adulticides was evaluated. Because melarsomine dihydrochloride (RM340) has been shown to be more effective in killing Dirofilaria immitis (heartworms) than the traditional approved adulticide, thiacetarsamide, an attempt was made to determine whether this new adulticide induced more severe lung disease. Before adulticide treatment, 32 dogs with naturally acquired heartworm infections received physical examinations, semiquantitative antigen concentration tests, cbc, platelet counts, serum biochemistry analyses, arterial blood gas determinations, thoracic radiography, pulmonary arteriography, and pulmonary hemodynamic tests. Eight dogs with a low burden and 9 dogs with a high burden of heartworms were treated with thiacetarsamide, and 7 dogs with a low burden and 8 dogs with a high burden were treated with RM340. Except for the heartworm-burden test, tests were repeated at regular intervals during the first 7 weeks after treatment. None of the dogs coughed or had dyspnea after treatment. Six of 9 dogs with high worm burdens and 4 of 8 dogs with low worm burdens had surviving heartworms after thiacetarsamide treatment, in contrast to only 3 of 15 RM340-treated dogs. Differences between the 2 adulticide treatments were minimal as determined by thoracic radiography, pulmonary hemodynamic tests, clinical laboratory analyses, pulmonary arteriography, or necropsy. The RM340 treatment was a more effective adulticide, but it did not increase the severity of hypertension and thromboembolism.

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