• thrombosis;
  • thromboembolism;
  • thrombolysis;
  • fibrinolysis;
  • hypercoagulable


Objective: To review the thrombolytic agents most commonly used in humans, their mechanisms of action, potential uses, adverse effects, and reports of their use in dogs and cats.

Human data synthesis: Thrombolytic agents avaliable in human medicine include streptokinase, urokinase, tissueplasminogen activator (t-PA), single-chain urokinase plasma activator (scu-PA) and anisoylated plasminogen-strep-tokinase activator complex (APSAC). These agents were originally used for the management of proximal deep vein thrombosis and severe pulmonary embolism but more recently, use of these drugs has been extended to include the treatment of acute peripheral arterial disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke) and acute coronary thrombosis. The most predictable side effect associated with the use of thrombolytic therapy is hemorrhage.

Veterinary data synthesis: Clinical experience with thrombolytic agents in small animals is limited to streptokinase and t-PA. It is possible, that as in humans, canine and feline patients with PTE and right ventricular dysfunction may benefit from thrombolytic therapy but there are no veterinary studies to support this theory to date. Successful use of streptokinase has been documented in a small number of canine patients with systemic thromboembolism. 63 Thrombolytic therapy is relatively efficacious in cats with aortic thromboemboli but is associated with a high mortality rate. 59,60,64 With regard to use of t-PA in veterinary medicine, the small number of animals treated with varying protocols makes it impossible to provide safe and effective dose recommendations at this time.

Conclusions: Future goals for thrombolytic therapy in veterinary medicine include determination of more specific clinical indications, as well as design of effective protocols that minimize mortality and morbidity.