Saddle Thrombus in Cats (Feline Aortic Thromboembolism)

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The term folliculitis is in reference to hair follicle(s) inflammation. The most common folliculitis cause in dogs is a bacterial infection, so folliculitis typically refers to hair follicle inflammation that is caused by bacterial infection. But, there are additional causes of folliculitis in canines, which include parasitic infestations, hormonal disorders, and fungi infections.

Folliculitis causes in dogs

Folliculitis might result from systemic diseases (diseases that affect more than one system in the body) or skin diseases. As dogs suffer with a health condition which impairs immune system functions, the bacteria which normally are discovered on the skin will invade the hair follicle, and lead to inflammation and pain. Hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism might cause a reduction in the function of the immune system and, in turn, folliculitis development.

Allergic skin diseases, like flea allergies, are among the most typical folliculitis causes on dogs. Allergies are exaggerated or excessive immune response to specific infectious or environmental agents. In the instance of flea allergies, canines are sensitive to the saliva of fleas and they suffer serious itch. As pups scratch their skin they inadvertently produce tiny skin wounds which might become infected with bacteria. A few flea allergy cases might result in bacterial folliculitis.

A handful of the systemic conditions which might cause folliculitis in dogs include:

  • Cushing’s disease or Hyperadrenocorticism (increased steroid hormone level)
  • Hypothyroidism (reduced thyroid hormone levels)
  • Immune mediated disorders

Common skin conditions which might cause dog folliculitis include:

  • Fungal infection
  • External parasites
  • Callus dermatitis
  • Pyotraumatic folliculitis
  • Idiopathic furunculosis of German Shepherd dogs
  • Interdigital cysts
  • Skin fold pyoderma
  • Acral lick granuloma
  • Canine acne
  • Allergies

Indications of dog folliculitis

The majority of dogs who experience folliculitis will suffer intense swelling and itch. Depending upon the cause, some pups might exhibit other indications of disease. For instance, a hormonal disorder referred to as Cushing’s disease may lead to folliculitis and canines who experience the disease typically present an increased frequency of urination, increased water intake, and a potted belly appearance.

A list of the most common indications of dog folliculitis include:

  • Swelling
  • Superficial erosions
  • Skin crusting and scaling
  • Redness
  • Red swellings on the skin
  • Pimples
  • Pain that surrounds all affected areas
  • Itching
  • Hair loss
  • Draining tracts
  • Skin darkening

Treatment

Dog folliculitis treatment varies depending upon the cause of the disease. As the most common kind of hair follicle infection is caused by bacteria, the treatment procedure for canine folliculitis oftentimes involves the administration of antimicrobial drugs.

In the majority of cases, the vet is going to prescribe a topical (skin application) antimicrobial that might be an antimicrobial shampoo, an injected or oral antimicrobial, and underlying disease treatment.

For instance, if the dog suffers from folliculitis because of an endocrine disorder, it’s vital that you address the hormonal imbalance, so you can prevent the folliculitis from returning again.

Bacterial skin infections may be challenging to treat because most antimicrobial drugs don’t reach the skin, and if they do, they must be offered at high dosages and for a lengthy duration of time. For that reason, treating bacterial folliculitis in dogs might extend from three to 12 weeks.

The instances of bacterial folliculitis that are secondary to flea allergies are going to require stringent flea control in addition to topical and systemic antimicrobial drugs.

The treatment’s effectiveness will greatly depend upon the accurate identification of the kind of bacteria which is causing the issue, as well as all underlying health conditions. It’s vital that you carefully follow the vet’s advice, so you can maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.

How to prevent folliculitis in dogs

The probability of preventing folliculitis in dogs greatly depends upon what’s causing the condition. Within the instance of dogs that have deep wrinkles like Pugs and Shar Pei’s, keeping the folds of the skin dry and clean may prevent bacterial folliculitis development. Stringent flea prevention may prevent secondary folliculitis. In addition, the control of hormonal imbalances might prevent the development of skin diseases like folliculitis.

Is dog folliculitis contagious to human beings?

Many people wonder if folliculitis is contagious. The condition itself isn’t considered to be contagious; not between canines or to human beings. But, it’s possible for a few conditions that are causing it to be transmittable to additional pets and humans, too. Ringworm infestation and sarcoptic mange include some of the extremely contagious conditions. On the other hand, staphylococci are transmittable between humans and dogs.

How to prevent recurrence of folliculitis

In order to prevent recurrence, it’s crucial that you understand and treat the cause of dog folliculitis. As it’s been properly handled, the coat of your dog will go on to be free of irritation and healthy. You should speak with your vet whenever you are not sure about what you should do or make out of this situation.

Saddle Thrombus in Cats (Feline Aortic Thromboembolism)

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Pet owners will often tell you that it’s easier to keep their cat healthy than it is to keep a dog healthy. Most pet cats spend the majority of their time indoors, so they’re not as at risk of contracting diseases or injuries as dogs. However, cats may still develop a disease that requires veterinary care. Taking your feline friend to the vet for an annual exam is the best way to keep them healthy and avoid losing a cat due to a disease like saddle thrombus.

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What is Saddle Thrombus?

Saddle thrombus, also known as feline cardiogenic arterial thromboembolism (ATE) or saddle thrombosis, is serious complication stemming from heart disease in cats. It’s caused by a blood clot that starts in the left atrium of the heart and travels to the aorta. Once it gets to the aorta and into iliac arteries, it prevents blood from flowing into the back legs.

In 90% of the cases of saddle thrombus, the condition is caused by an underlying heart condition, such as hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathy. Since saddle thrombus is caused by heart disease in cats, it can create serious and life-threatening health problems. What makes saddle thrombus so serious is that instead of the blood flowing freely through the body, it causes the blood to clot, and these blood clots become jammed in the femoral arteries.

Because they’re blocking the arteries, blood can’t flow freely through the body. This can cause cold limbs, extreme pain, decreased pulses, paralysis and even eventual death. Symptoms of saddle thrombus in cats include:

  • Dragging rear legs
  • Sudden inability to use the back legs
  • Pain
  • Cold rear limbs
  • Vocalizing

What Cats are Susceptible?

Saddle thrombus, which is seldom seen in dogs, may be found in any cats but is most common with cats suffering from advanced heart disease. Cats of any age or breed may get saddle thrombus, but it’s typically found in cats 8 years or older. Breeds more prone not just to saddle thrombus but heart disease in general include:

  • Maine Coon
  • Persian
  • Sphynx
  • Ragdoll
  • Abyssinian

How is it Diagnosed?

Although a veterinarian usually diagnoses saddle thrombus, the cat often displays symptoms that prompt the owner to take their cat to the vet. The main symptoms, weakness or paralysis of the back legs, can be easily spotted. The hind legs may also be colder than the rest of the body and even have a bluish color to them. Often, it comes on suddenly and the cat will begin to hyperventilate and scream in pain.

Once the owner takes the cat to the vet, the vet will give the cat a full physical examination. Because the symptoms of saddle thrombus are so obvious, a physical examination may be all that’s needed to make a diagnosis.

However, if the vet is uncertain or wants to be extremely thorough, he may perform blood work on the cat. The vet may also order a complete cardiac workup, which includes an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) and/or a chest radiograph (x-ray).

How to Treat

The treatment for saddle thrombus varies from cat to cat. It also depends on a few different factors.

  • If there is an underlying heart condition
  • How long since the symptoms were first noticed
  • How far the cat’s owners want to go with treatment

Treatment options are most often determined by the cost. Unfortunately, many cat owners can’t afford to pay high vet bills, and the bills can get quite high when the animal requires many diagnostic tests. This is the main reason why many pet owners are choosing to purchase pet insurance.

Treatment, first and foremost, includes pain management. The vet will try to dissolve the blood clot and control the underlying heart condition so the cat will be in less pain. The vet may recommend surgery in some situations. Although it’s not really common in saddle thrombus cases, it is possible if the clot is small. Some vets give the cat aspirin to help thin the blood and prevent future clotting of the blood.

In some cases, the clot is so large, it covers the entire length of the artery, which makes surgery impossible. Euthanasia is a form of treatment for cats with advanced saddle thrombus, especially in cases were the cat will not gain back mobility in the back legs. Approximately 25% of cat owners choose euthanasia when their cat is diagnosed with saddle thrombus.

Prognosis

Even with early diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for cats with saddle thrombus is not very good. What’s unfortunate is that by the time the symptoms are visible, it’s often too late for the cat. Of the many cases of saddle thrombus, about 50% of them have an underlying heart problem, which means also that 50% do not have a heart problem.

The prognosis for those that don’t have heart disease, other than saddle thrombus, is obviously better but still not good. If a cat does survive saddle thrombus or doesn’t have heart disease, the cat may need to be on blood thinners for the rest of its life and may not have full use of the back legs.

Some cats are euthanized due to the poor quality of life and recurrences of the disease. Every case is different. If a cat treated for saddle thrombus does regain movement in the rear legs, it usually happens within a week after treatment. The cat will need lots of help during this period.

Sources

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/aortic-thromboembolism-in-cats