Veterinarians at the University of California, Davis have been studying the health of cats affected by the recent California wildfires. They have found that cats who suffered burns and smoke inhalation developed a high incidence of cardiovascular problems.
Researchers examined 51 cats referred for veterinary treatment after wildfires in 2017 and 2018. More than half of the cats had serious cardiovascular problems.
Specifically, a high incidence of heart muscle thickening and blood clot formation (or the risk of blood clot formation) was found in many of the cats. Six of the cats in the study had to be euthanized for cardiac problems.
The researchers report that humans who have experienced burns are also at risk for cardiovascular issues, but they found a higher incidence in the cats, even among those who had only moderate burns.
They note that further research into animals impacted by fire can translate into a greater understanding of how human health is affected.
“We also know that these cats inhaled smoke in a very urban environment, exposing them to toxicants,” said one of the researchers. “These cats could be the canary in the coal mine, letting us know what might happen if more people are exposed to these types of wildfires.”
They recommend that veterinarians screen for cardiovascular issues in cats who have been treated after wildfires.
You can read the full text of the study HERE.
Top image: Rob Warren/UC Davis