A critical care specialist with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine recently diagnosed a cat with the congenital platelet disorder, Glanzmann thrombasthenia (GT)—the first ever such diagnosis in a cat.
Miao Miao, a four-year-old male domestic shorthair cat, was brought to the UC Davis veterinary hospital with persistent nosebleeds. There specialists with the Internal Medicine Service ran a complete range of tests to attempt to discover the root of his bleeding issue. A complete blood count showed that Miao Miao had a normal platelet count, was not anaemic, and had no evidence of inflammation. An ultrasound was also performed, which showed that Miao Miao had no evidence of bleeding into any of his other bodily cavities.
The team felt it was best to keep the patient hospitalised for a few days to ensure he did not develop significant bleeding, and to discuss his case with other clinicians and researchers, among them Dr Ronald Li, a critical care specialist with the UC Davis veterinary hospital’s Emergency Room.
Dr Li operates a state-of-the-art platelet physiology laboratory with equipment and capabilities found in only a handful of veterinary centres around the world. It was when he analysed Miao Miao’s platelets that it was discovered Miao Miao has GT. This causes his platelets to be non-functional and lack expression of a protein called integrin, which is important for the formation of blood clots.
In humans and dogs, GT is caused by a genetic mutation in the genes responsible for making a platelet protein that is essential for clot formation.
Dr Li is currently analysing Miao Miao’s DNA to further characterise his genetic mutations. He hopes to identify the mutation so that cats with a similar bleeding disorder can be tested in the future.