Cats that suffer from smoke inhalation and burns are likely to have blood clots, according to a study by the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. The study, which looked at feline patients treated after the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, CA, concludes that felines injured in urban wildfires have a high incidence of developing potentially fatal heart problems. Compared to healthy cats, or those with subclinical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the felines who sustained injuries in wildfires had overactive platelets and were even more likely to throw clots than the cats with HCM.
The platelets of wildfire-injured cats also released high amounts of microvesicles — microscopic membranous bubble-like structures filled with proteins — which are associated with cardiovascular disease and an elevated risk of clotting.
Platelets are not only behind clot formation, but are involved in overall cardiovascular health and diseases as well. The study also aided in finding a new receptor for feline platelets, which may aid in clotting and could be considered for the development of future treatments. In addition, the results signify the role of platelets in linking inflammation with coagulation.
This and future studies may also have implications for humans, since wildfires increase health risks for people too, including heart attacks and strokes after exposure.