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Evaluating a treatment for feline thromboembolism

W19-014: Targeted intra-arterial administration of tissue plasminogen activator as a treatment for feline distal aortic thromboembolism.
(Winn funded interim grant progress report summary)

Principal Investigators: Dr. Sigal Klainbart, Dr. Joshua Milgram; Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Israel

Aortic thromboembolism (ATE) is a life-threatening condition in cats in which a thrombus formed in the heart enters the aorta and blocks the blood flow to the hind limbs, leaving the cat often in pain and unable to walk. Currently, there is no definitive treatment for this condition, and many cats with this disease die or are euthanized due to a poor prognosis.

In people the “state of the art” treatment is catheter-directed thrombolysis (a catheter is introduced into the blocked artery and a medication that dissolves the thrombus is injected directly into the blockage). It has been shown that this treatment is more effective and has fewer side effects when compared other treatments.

The investigators have developed a novel approach and have begun targeted intra-arterial administration of tissue plasminogen activator (a blockage dissolving drug) as a treatment for cats with ATE, with encouraging results. They have treated six cats with ATE so far, with three of them surviving to discharge after regaining a femoral pulse and voluntary movement of their hind legs. This is in contrast to cases which are treated with traditional methods where the prognosis is poor and cats seldom survive to discharge.