Arterial Thromboembolism in Cats: Acute Crisis in 127 Cases (1992-2001) and Long-Term Management with Low-Dose Aspirin in 24 Cases

Smith S.A., Tobias A.H., Jacob K.A., et al.

J Vet Intern Med, 2003. 17(1): p.73-83.


Records of 127 cats with arterial thromboembolism (ATE) were reviewed. Abyssinian, Birman, Ragdoll, and male cats were overrepresented. Tachypnea (91%), hypothermia (66%), and absent limb motor function (66%) were common. Of 90 cats with diagnostics performed, underlying diseases were hyperthyroidism (12), cardiomyopathy (dilated [8], unclassified [33], hypertrophic obstructive [5], hypertrophic [19]), neoplasia (6), other (4), and none (3). Common abnormalities were left atrial enlargement (93%), congestive heart failure (CHF, 44%), and arrhythmias (44%). Of cats without CHF, 89% were tachypneic. Common biochemical abnormalities were hyperglycemia, azotemia, and abnormally high serum concentrations of muscle enzymes. Of 87 cats treated for acute limb ATE, 39 (45%) survived to be discharged. Significant differences were found between survivors and nonsurvivors for temperature (P < .00001), heart rate (P = .038), serum phosphorus concentration (P = .024), motor function (P = .008), and number of limbs affected (P = .001). No significant difference was found between survivors and nonsurvivors when compared by age, respiratory rate, other biochemical analytes, or concurrent CHE A logistic regression model based on rectal temperature predicted a 50% probability of survival at 98.9 degrees F (37.2 degrees C). Median survival time (MST) for discharged cats was 117 days. Eleven cats had ATE recurrences, and 5 cats developed limb problems. Cats with CHF (MST: 77 days) had significantly shorter survival than cats without CHF (MST: 223 days; P = .016). No significant difference was found in survival or recurrence rate between cats receiving high-dose aspirin (> or = 40 mg/cat q72h) and cats receiving low-dose aspirin (5 mg/cat q72h). Adverse effects were less frequent and milder for the lower dosage.