Take heart: Two new studies shed light on arterial thromboembolism

November 8, 2016

Human medicine serves as springboard for advancements in veterinary cardiology.

Two recent studies inspired by human medicine and funded by the Morris Animal Foundation are providing new insights into the treatment of arterial thromboembolism (ATE) in pets, according to an October post on the organization's blog.

Rivroxaban: A promising blood thinner for cats?

Researchers from the University of Georgia hypothesized that rivaroxaban (Xarelto), which is commonly used as a blood thinner in humans, could help prevent ATE in cats. Published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, the abstract says rivaroxaban was well-tolerated by the six healthy feline study participants and showed anticoagulating effects. Researchers are now recruiting cats with heart disease who have survived one episode of ATE to participate in a rivaroxaban study.

Genetics and clopidogrel

Because humans have exhibited a wide range of responses to blood thinners, researchers led by Ronald Li, PhD, at the University of California, Davis, set out to investigate whether or not cats do the same.

The study specifically examined “how genetics influence the way cats respond to clopidogrel (Plavix),” the blog post says. Published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the abstract states that while “clopidogrel is commonly prescribed to cats with perceived increased risk of thromboembolic events, little information exists regarding its antiplatelet effects.”

“We found that cats with the genetic mutation that predisposes them to heart disease [A31P] had platelets that were more reactive than platelets from cats without the genetic mutation,” Li says in the Morris Animal Foundation post. “This study suggests that not only do platelets play a key role in clot formation in [hypertrophic cardiomyopathy] cats but that not all cats respond to clopidogrel the same way.” According to the blog post, this finding “could help clinicians understand why some cats fail therapy.”