Recent increases in the prevalence and severity of wildfires in some regions have resulted in an increased frequency of veterinary burn patients. Few studies exist regarding diagnostics and management of burn wounds in veterinary patients and current knowledge is extrapolated from human literature and research models. Post-burn cardiac injury is a common finding and predictor of mortality in human patients and echocardiography is an important tool in monitoring response to therapy and predicting outcome. We describe the notable findings from cats naturally exposed to California wildfires in 2017 and 2018. Domestic cats (n = 51) sustaining burn injuries from the Tubbs (2017) and Camp (2018) wildfires were prospectively enrolled and serial echocardiograms and cardiac troponin I evaluations were performed. Echocardiograms of affected cats revealed a high prevalence of myocardial thickening (18/51) and spontaneous echocardiographic contrast and thrombi formation (16/51). Forty-two cats survived to discharge and 6 died or were euthanized due to a possible cardiac cause. For the first time, we describe cardiovascular and coagulation effects of thermal burn and smoke inhalation in cats. Further studies in veterinary burn victims are warranted and serve as a translational research opportunity for uncovering novel disease mechanisms and therapies.
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