Skip to content

Healthy Cats

Aortic Thromboembolism in Cats

Font Size
A
A
A

This is characterized by the passing of a blood clot (embolus) from the left side of the heart into the general circulation, where it becomes lodged in an artery. The resulting obstruction to the flow of blood leads to clotting of the artery (thrombosis).

The most common site for blockage is the point at which the abdominal aorta branches into the main arteries that supply the rear legs. Arteries elsewhere in the body can be affected, particularly in the kidneys. Diagnosis of the rear limb problem can be based on signs such as rear limb paralysis, swollen muscles, the absence of a pulse in the groin, and blue nails due to cyanosis. If the renal arteries are blocked, acute kidney failure may result. If a cerebral artery is blocked, seizures may occur. Cats with thrombi can be in quite serious pain.

Recommended Related to Cats

Keeping Your Cat off Countertops and Tables

Cats are supreme tree-climbing hunters, with strongly muscled backs and hindquarters that give them tremendous power to jump-either horizontally or vertically. It’s normal for cats to jump and climb to high places as they explore their environment. They have sharp, protractile (extendable) claws that serve as useful crampons for climbing.

Read the Keeping Your Cat off Countertops and Tables article > >

Formation of a blood clot in the heart and subsequent arterial thromboembolism occurs in about half of all cats suffering from cardiomyopathy. It may be the first indication of heart disease. Suspect this possibility if your cat experiences the sudden onset of weakness in the rear legs. Look for cold legs, bluish skin, and faint or absent pulses in the groin. One leg may be more severely blocked than the other. The colder leg with the weaker pulse is the more severely affected. Ultrasound can be very useful in localizing all potential areas of thrombosis.

Treatment: This depends on the severity of the blockage. Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to try to dissolve the clot. Heparin seems to be the most useful drug for this condition. Aspirin may also be used, and a new product called Fragmin, which is a molecular weight heparin (a version of heparin that is smaller in size - molecular weight - than standard heparin), may also be useful, but it is very expensive and is not approved for use in cats at this time. Clopidogrel is currently being tested at Purdue University to see if it will reduce the recurrence rate of thromboembolism. Surgery has not been found to have a high success rate.

Today on WebMD

cat at table
What's safe for them to eat?
Maine Coon cat breed
What they do and why cats have them.
 
Kitten in litterbox
How to solve them.
cat meowing
Why some cats are so talkative
 
cat on couch
Evaluator
Kitten using litter box
Quiz
 
sleeping kitten
Slideshow
sad kitten looking at milk glass
Slideshow
 

Love your pets, hate your allergies?

Get tips for relief.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat at table
Slideshow
muddy dog on white sofa
Quiz
 
Maine Coon cat breed
Article
Pets: Behavior Problems in Cats
Slideshow