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Cats Disease - Heart

Cats Disease - Heart

As cat owners, our cats hold a special place in our hearts and keeping our cat’s heart is one of our responsibilities. When it comes to heart disease, regular visits to your veterinarian could mean the difference between life and premature death. Owners may not realize that their cats are susceptible to many forms of heart disease. In most cases, heart disease can be successfully managed with early detection and treatment.

Cats rarely have typical ‘heart attacks’ that we humans are so familiar with. However, cats can have what are called cardiomyopathie or diseases of the heart muscle. Such diseases include:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (the most common feline heart problem)
When areas of the heart muscle (most often the left ventricle) enlarge and thicken

Congestive heart failure

When the heart cannot pump blood efficiently enough for the blood to function.

Cardiac arrhythmias

Also known as abnormal timing of the heart’s beat when the heart ‘skips’ a beat every once a while.

Thromboembolic disease

When a thrombus (blood clot formations) becomes dislodged and travels through the bloodstream.

Cat Symptoms & Diagnosis

Heart disease usually takes several weeks to months to progress to the serious stage. For the first few weeks, your cat will look and act completely normal. Eventually you will start noticing your cat being lethargic and having a poor appetite. Near the end, your cat will start to have trouble breathing and will be at risk for blood clots that can lodge themselves in blood vessels throughout the body. The most common place for clots to lodge is where the aorta splits before going to the back legs. Your cat may seem paralyzed or as if he/she has a broken leg, but the reality is that there is no blood or oxygen going to the leg. If your cat has a blood clot, the affected area will have no pulse in it and will begin turn cold and blue.

No one is really sure why cat gets disease of the heart. Some think it may have a genetic precursor and be caused by a genetic defect that is inherited. In the past, cardiomyopathies were seen quite often due to taurine (an essential amino acid) deficiencies. However, all commercially available cat foods today are enriched with taurine to avoid this problem.

Cat Treatment & Prevention

Congestive heart is a chronic disorder and thus if you catch it early and treat it early, your cat can love a long and happy life. Diagnosis will be done with X-rays, echocardiograms, sonograms or blood tests. If your cat is suspected of having heart problem other tests will most likely be performed to rule out other causes of heart disease such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or liver disease.

If you think your cat may have heart problem, consult your vet as soon as possible. There are many options for cats with cardiomyopathies today, but you need to catch the disease early and treat it as soon as possible.

Make sure your cat eats healthy and exercises often. A kitty in good shape is less likely to develop heart problems or exhibit heart failure even if they have a weak heart to begin with.


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