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Small Animal/Exotics Compendium September 2000



ighlighted this month is a web site on feline heartworm disease that is
With respect to performing antigen
and antibody tests on cats suspected
of having heartworm disease, the
following two web sites expertly
H an exceptionally well-done clinical resource. The site offers current
information on topics ranging from the biology of the disease to the
interpretation of antigen versus antibody test results to an excellent review of
the various treatment and management options available today. Because feline
interpret the various combinations and canine heartworm diseases are distinctly different, access to this web site is
of test results. Although neither
especially important for anyone who practices feline medicine and is definitely
site is as extensive as is the web site
featured, they do offer quick access worth bookmarking for future reference.
to information that is often difficult
to obtain and/or confusing to Searching the Web are well written and organized and of-
understand: The initial search for heartworm disease fer information that is relevant to clinical
“Feline Heartworm Disease” practitioners (see Also Worth a Look).
by the Heartworm Society Search for heartworm disease Search
Of these three, the site featured in
http://www.heartwormsociety. this column offers the most extensive
org/feline.htm recovered more than 2000 web site ad-
“Feline Heartworm Disease” dresses that included some reference to
by Drs. David K. Rosen canine and/or feline heartworm disease.
and Ann R. Donoghue However, refining that search to feline heartworm disease
HESKA/products/hw/ distance/cardio/all.html
feline_hw_disease.htm Search for feline heartworm disease Search
Auburn University College of
yielded about 270 sites, and the search Veterinary Medicine, Feline
for canine heartworm disease Heartworm Disease
Search for canine heartworm disease Search None
revealed 266 sites. A majority of these Ray Dillon, DVM, Diplomate
sites (approximately 99%) clearly and ACVIM, Professor of Medicine,
exclusively target pet owners, and the Auburn University College of
information provided is therefore too Veterinary Medicine
superficial to be of educational value to
veterinarians. Of the sites that do offer HOME PAGE. After reaching the
educationally based medical informa- university’s home page, users can
tion on feline heartworm disease, three “Search the Site” to access the home
Compendium September 2000 Small Animal/Exotics

page for feline heartworm disease Part 1—Biology: The biology of ogy. Each parameter is expertly sum-
(the URL provided is a link directly Dirofilaria immitis infection in cats is marized, and the indications and in-
to the feline heartworm page). This well worth the few minutes it takes terpretations for each test are thor-
page allows the user to access several to read. Clearly, feline heartworm oughly discussed.
areas, including an introduction and disease is not the same as canine
table of contents for each of four heartworm disease, and a basic re- Part 4—Treatment: This section
parts, or sections; any one of the four view of the differences adds consider- discusses how the treatment of cats
parts (biology, pathology and clinical ably to the understanding of the infected with D. immitis can be a
presentation, diagnosis, or clinical clinical events related to this infec- lose–lose proposition and reviews in
management); terminology; abstracts tion in cats. The life cycle of D. im- considerable detail the pros and cons
on feline heartworm disease; a bio- mitis, which is included in the pre- of adulticidal therapy, postadulticidal
graphic sketch of Dr. Dillon; or the sentation, reinforces the biologic consequences, efficacy of treatment,
entire document. explanation of the different clinical and conservative therapy using glu-
presentations of feline and canine cocorticoids. The author offers com-
HIGHLIGHTS. Overall, this site is heartworm disease. pelling reasons to prevent rather than
well written and applicable to the treat this infection in cats and dis-
management of feline heartworm Part 2—Pathology and Clinical cusses the role of both ivermectin
disease in clinical practice. Several Disease: This section examines the and selamectin.
photographs, graphs, and incidence general pulmonary pathology of
charts are easy to access with a single heartworm disease in cats and its sim- CRITIQUE. The educational strength
click of the mouse. A built-in glos- ilarity to that in dogs and provides of this web site clearly outweighs any
sary of medical terms is available and pertinent information on clinical pre- negative aspects. Although most of
is a useful device. A strong feature of sentation of the disease, including the illustrations and maps are of
this web site is its abundant use of clinical signs, history, physical exami- good quality, the quality of some
links to published abstracts that are nation, clinical pathology, and blood charts, including the D. immitis life
directly pertinent to the topic being chemistries and urinalysis. cycle, is disappointing. In addition,
discussed. The following site review when printing an image from the
briefly summarizes the major menu Part 3—Diagnosis: This section is screen, all of the artifacts viewed in
selections. particularly important for practicing the on-screen image become en-
veterinarians and reviews the larged and enhanced. Some of the ra-
three serologic methods of di- diographic and photomicroscopic
agnosing feline heartworm dis- images are particularly small. The
ease and seven diagnostic pa- occasional use of video in Part 3 to
rameters, ranging from antigen illustrate echocardiograms is, howev-
and antibody testing to echo- er, especially well done and signifi-
cardiography to tracheal cytol- cantly enhances the educational val-
ue of the site.

Although the definitions of pertinent

terms are generally of value to most
practitioners, several of the defini-
tions given are superficial. For exam-
ple, type II alveolar cell hypertrophy
is defined as “a large cell in the
airspace that makes surfactant” with-
out stipulation as to whether hyper-
Compendium September 2000 Small Animal/Exotics

trophy has detrimental clinical consequences to cats infect-

ed with D. immitis. Occasional misspelled words can be
found, although they do not significantly detract from the Richard B. Ford, DVM, MS, is professor of medicine,
presentation. In Part 2, the glossary-linked term hem- Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary
globinurea (sic) actually defines hemoglobinuria. Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.
Finally, the web site does not indicate the currency of He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veteri-
nary Internal Medicine and has an interest in promot-
the information being presented and when the most recent
ing the Internet to enhance the practice of veterinary
update was completed. medicine.