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Aortic embolism (caudal arterial thromboembolism) was diagnosed over a four-year-period in 14 out of 2,000 cats in a hospital clinic population (7/1,000). Including 35 cases reported in the literature, the average age of 50 cats with aortic embolism was 6-8 years (range one to 16 years). Of these, 37 were males and 13 were females. Endocarditis with thrombosis was the most frequently observed cause of aortic embolism, although aortic arteriosclerosis was reported in one cat.
The clinical and pathological features of aortic embolism in five cats are described in this report. In electrocardiograms of four of these, arrhythmias or conduction disturbances were recorded. Intact emboli in the aorta and external iliac arteries were removed by abdominal aortic embolectomy in two cats within hours after the onset of posterior paralysis. Death resulted in one case from cardiac complications and in the other by euthanasia at the later date because of probably recurrent aortic embolism. In the other three cases, multiple sections of the aorta with the embolus in situ were examined, but no microscopic changes in the aortic wall were noted.
Surgical removal of an aortic embolus is technically and economically feasible and is considered the treatment of choice when treatment is requested within hours after the onset of clinical signs. Although embolectomy can yield a good immediate result; the long range justification for such therapy requires further evaluation, since recurrent embolization may develop.
Buchanan, J. W., Baker, G. J., & Hill, J. D. (1966). Aortic Embolism in Cats: Prevalence, Surgical Treatment and Electrocardiography. Veterinary Record, 79 (28), 496-505. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/vr.79.18.496
Date Posted: 19 December 2013
This document has been peer reviewed.