Cats are at risk for heartworm infection (Dirofilaria immitis) wherever the disease is endemic in dogs. Diagnosis is more difficult in cats, and little information is available regarding effective palliative and curative treatments for infected cats. In contrast to the challenges of diagnosis and treatment, chemoprophylaxis is highly effective, and current guidelines call for preventive medications to be administered to all cats in endemic areas.
The purpose of this study was to survey feline heartworm management protocols used by 400 animal shelters and foster programs in the endemic states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.
The diagnosis and management of canine heart disease could be facilitated by a highly sensitive and specific laboratory test that predicts risk of morbidity and mortality, is helpful in directing therapy, easy to perform, inexpensive, and widely available. This article details if, how, and when the cardiac biomarker, N-terminal fragment of the prohormone B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), helps in the diagnosis and management of canine heart disease.
Veterinary cardiac biomarkers, specifically NT-proBNP, hold great promise; however, NT-proBNP should be considered as work in progress. Until ongoing clinical studies are completed, there remain substan- tial gaps in existing knowledge on how recommendations for this technology are formulated for everyday patients, which require a slow and cautious approach. Thus, the incorporation of NT-proBNP assay or any diagnostic test into successful clinical practice requires an understanding of the science behind the technology, as well as the clinical data available to date. These aspects of NT-proBNP testing and their contribution to clinical management of canine heart disease are discussed.
Vet Clinics of North Amer Sm Anim Practice - (July 2010); pp 545-558.
Feline heartworm disease is a very different clinical entity from canine heartworm disease. In cats, the arrival and death of immature heartworms in the pulmonary arteries can cause coughing and dyspnea as early as 3 months postinfection. Adult heartworms suppress the function of pulmonary intravascular macrophages and thus reduce clinical disease in chronic feline heartworm infection. Approximately 80% of asymptomatic cats self-cure. Median survival time for symptomatic cats is 1.5 years, or 4 years if only cats living beyond the day of presentation are considered.
Topics in Companion Animal Medicine Vol 25(4): November 2010; pp 224-230.
The high prevalence of heartworm infection in shelter dogs creates a dilemma for shelter managers, who frequently operate with insufficient funding, staffing, and expertise to com- ply with heartworm guidelines developed for owned pet dogs. The purpose of this study was to survey canine heartworm management protocols used by 504 animal sheltering agen- cies in the endemic states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.
Veterinary Parasitology - Vol 176(4): March 2011; pp 333-341.
The antifilarial effects of tetracycline drugs were first demonstrated when they were found to be highly effective against L3 and L4 of Brugia pahangi and Litomosoides sigmodontis in rodent models. Tetracyclines are also now known to have activity against microfilariae and adult Dirofilaria immitis, but assessment of their activity against larval and juvenile heartworms has not been reported previously. This study assessed the effects of doxycycline administered orally at 10 mg/kg twice daily for 30-day periods at selected times during the early part of the life cycle of D. immitis in dogs with dual infections of D. immitis and B. pahangi.
Veterinary Parasitology - Vol 176(4): March 2011; pp 361-367.
The use of the ELISA to measure circulating NP concentrations in cats will provide many opportunities to evaluate the use of these peptides for diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic purposes in the management of feline cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal disease. Early studies have shown great potential and some conflict with regard to their use as diagnostic aids. The goal now is to refine the interpretation of NP concentrations through further scientific studies and clinical practice to determine their full potential as an important biomarker in the assessment and management of common feline diseases.
Vet Clinics of North Amer Sm Anim Practice - July 2010; pp 559-570.
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