Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

US vets remove heartworm from cat’s femoral artery
Stormie
Cardiologists removed a 13-centimeter heartworm through Stormie's femoral artery.

Removal ‘extremely rare’ in veterinary medicine

US cardiologists have removed a 13-centimetre heartworm from a cat’s femoral artery - a procedure which is believed to be a first in veterinary medicine.

When four-year-old Stormie was presented to specialists at UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, vets suspected heartworm in the arterial system. She had a history of heartworm disease and one of her rear legs had become lame.

After tests confirmed the diagnosis, cardiologists performed an echocardiogram which revealed a heartworm in the pulmonary artery and evidence of pulmonary hypertension in the lungs, from the heartworm disease.

The abdominal ultrasound that followed confirmed that the heartworm extended into her abdomen and down into the right femoral artery, cutting off the blood supply.

Acting fast to avoid amputating Stormie's leg, the team performed a CT angiography scan. This did not show any more heartworms but revealed there were abnormalities in the back right leg, likely secondary decreased blood flow from the worm. The scan also showed evidence of lung inflammation, which is also likely caused by the heartworms.

Cardiologist Dr Catherine Gunther-Harrington and Dr Ingrid Balsa, assisted by cardiology resident Dr Maureen Oldach, collaborated to successfully remove the 13-centimetre heartworm from Stormie’s right femoral artery without breaking it.

As blood flow returned to normal once they had removed the worm - and the tissue still looked healthy - the artery was repaired and the cardiologists decided amputation was not necessary. However, Stormie’s leg may require amputation in the future if the nerves and muscle in the leg do not heal properly.

In a press release, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine explained that ‘removal of a heartworm via the femoral artery is extremely rare in veterinary medicine’.

‘It has been reported only on a few occasions in dogs, but never cats,’ it reads. ‘Due to this uniqueness, Dr Oldach is currently preparing a case write-up for submission to a scientific journal’.

Stormie remained in the hospital for several days after her operation and was placed on a monthly heartworm preventative that she will need to continue for the rest of her life.
To avoid future amputation, she is now on a physical rehabilitation programme and her owner is hopeful that she will continue to improve.

Image (C) UC Davis Veterinary Medicine.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”