Arterial thromboembolism (ATE) is typically associated with high morbidity and mortality in cats. Previous studies have recognized several factors associated with decreased survival rate, including hypothermia, >2 limbs affected, absence of motor function, hyperphosphatemia, bradycardia, and congestive heart failure (CHF).
In this study, 250 cats with ATE were identified from 3 general practices over 98 months. Prevalence was 0.003%. At presentation, 61.2% of patients were euthanized; 70.1% of the 97 remaining cats survived >24 hours after presentation. Lower rectal temperature at presentation (36oC vs 37.8oC) was significantly associated with mortality between 24 hours and 7 days. After the initial 24 hours, mortality within 7 days was significantly associated with not receiving aspirin, clopidogrel, or both. Of the 68 cats that survived the initial 24 hours, 30 (44.1%) survived at least 7 days. For cats that survived at least 7 days, median survival time was 94 days; 6 cats were alive 1 year after presentation. Of the 30 cats, 14 were later euthanized for recurrent ATE; 15 were euthanized for clinical signs of CHF. No identified factors predicted euthanasia on presentation. This study indicated a need for further evaluation of the effect of early antiplatelet treatment on outcome of cats presenting acutely with ATE. It also suggested that long term survival is possible in a small proportion of cats presenting with ATE.