Researchers at the California Davis Veterinary Hospital in California have found that cats exposed to wildfires and suffocation are at risk of developing blood clots. This study, published recently in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Sciences, found that cats affected by wildfires were more likely to have serious heart problems.
“Before these two papers, we did not realize that cats exposed to wildfires were prone to blood clots and that this could lead to sudden death,” said Ronald Lee, associate professor of small animal emergency and critical care. “This study will change the standard of care for cats that survive these wildfires and we hope it will save many lives,” said UC Davis.
Excessively active platelets
Cats treated for the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, California, were some models of this study. Researchers have studied platelet cells that circulate in the bloodstream and stop bleeding or cause blood clots. Cats affected by wildfires have increased active platelets compared to healthy cats or those with heart disease, in this case subclinical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM. HCMM is the most common heart disease in cats and causes obesity.
“Cats with HCM are more likely to have high blood pressure, which means they are more likely to develop coagulation,” said Ava Tan, lead author of the study, now working in a veterinary laboratory at Lee Laboratory. “That’s why we used it as a control group to compare it to cats in the wild.”
Wildfire-damaged cats’ platelets contain large amounts of microvessels, microscopic membranes, foam-like proteins, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stabilization.
“We’ve found cats exposed to wildfire smoke and injuries are more likely to cause blood clots, which shows a direct link between wildfire damage, platelet reaction and blood clot formation,” he said.
In addition to coagulation, platelets are closely linked to general cardiovascular health and disease. The study found that the fatty receptor-4 receptor-4 receptor on cat platelets may play a role in blood clotting and may be a target for future therapies.
“These results can have significant health implications for our gum patients and highlight the important role that platelets play in linking inflammation to the circulatory system,” he said.
Impact on human health
Wildfires pose a serious threat to humans. Emergency room visits increase after exposure to heart disease and wildlife due to stroke. Although the main mechanism is not known in humans, this study of cats may shed light on systemic platelet aggregation, which may play an important role in mediating the risk of developing blood clots due to chronic fire damage.
“This study opens a new door to look at how wildfires affect human cardiovascular health,” he said.
The researchers were able to use blood samples collected from cats from Camp Fire for treatment, and these two studies are still used today. This study led to a third study in the process of finding new cellular processes that explain why platelets are so sensitive and why they are prone to stabilization, especially in cats with heart disease or chronic fire. The information gathered is crucial for the development of pre-treatment plans, Lee said.
Other authors include veterinary cardiologists Joshua Stern, Katherine Gተርnther-Harrington and Ashley Sharp; Veterinary Critical Care Specialists Yu Juda, Steven Epstein and Satoshi Haginoa; And research collaborators Nghi Nguyen and Mehrab Hussain at the Comparison Platelet and Neutrophyll Physiology Laboratory. The study and treatment of Feline fire victims in this study was funded by the UC Davis Animal Catastrophic Needs Fund. This study is funded by the Associated Animal Health Center.