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Coagulation & Cytauxzoonosis

Clinician's Brief (Capsule)


|November 2015

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Cytauxzoonosis, a protozoal disease of bobcats, is transmitted to domestic cats by feeding ticks. Parasitic thrombi occlude small-to-medium-sized blood vessels, which can potentially cause ischemia, organ dysfunction, and organ failure. In this prospective study, 5 cats with cytologic and PCR-confirmed disease underwent coagulation studies to characterize abnormalities and determine the presence of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Parameters measured included: platelet count; activated partial thromboplastin time; prothrombin time (PT); fibrinogen; antithrombin (AT); D-dimer; protein C; antiplasmin; plasminogen; factors VII, VIII, IX, X, and XI; and von Willebrand factor. Thromboelastography analysis was also performed.

All 5 cats had thrombocytopenia, low protein C activity, and prolonged PT. These results fit the proposed criteria for overt DIC; however, none of the cats had AT deficiency, commonly seen in human and canine DIC cases. None of the cats had clinical signs of hemorrhage despite these abnormalities; however, only 3 survived to discharge. The 2 that succumbed had disseminated cytauxzoonosis throughout vessels of various organs and died of respiratory failure. Further research into treatment aimed at the inciting inflammatory stimuli and thrombotic complications of DIC in cats with cytauxzoonosis is needed. 


Based on these study results , it appears that hemostatic abnormalities are common in cats with cytauxzoonosis. Hemostatic test results in these 5 cats indicated the presence of a hypocoagulable state and DIC. Remarkably, none of the cats displayed overt signs of hemorrhage despite evidence of hypocoagulability on numerous tests. These findings remind us that there is more to hemostasis than what can be tested in plasma or whole blood samples. Further questions remain. How can bleeding or thrombosis be best detected, predicted, and prevented in these cats?—Julie M. Walker, DVM, DACVECC


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