Pet Diseases- Heart Disease in Cats

In 2005 I lost my Cat Luna to heart disease at the age of 7. He had symptoms but by the time we got him to the vet they had disappeared. He stayed at the Vet’s for the day, had no more symptoms and came home About a month later it happened again, but this time more sever and it was too late he died on the way to the Vet’s office, I hope in writing this it will spare someone else the paid of losing a pet.

Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease in which the heart becomes abnormally enlarged (enlarged heart), thickened and/or stiffened. As a result, the heart muscle’s ability to pump and/or receive blood is usually weakened. This condition is generally progressive and may lead to heart failure. Symptoms of include labored breathing, weight loss, rear end weakness (due to blood clots), loss of energy and respiratory congestion or wheezing. Luna had the rear end weakness and wheezing. Heart disease in cats is often subtle in the early stages, which is why with Luna there were no symptoms by the time we got to the Vet’s office. Everything was normal by the time we got there WE were considering setting up tests, but he died before we could do it. Don’t wait if there is any indication get the tests done immediately, even if it means gong to a heart specialist. Yes they have them for pets.


Feline Heartworm Tests
Never underestimate the seriousness of heart worms. Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. The Heartworm affects animals and humans. Signs of heartworm disease include coughing, lethargy, vomiting that is not related to eating, collapse, seizures and respiratory problems. Some cats show no early symptoms and can die without warning. The Heartworm resides in the heart of its host where it can stay for many years until it kills its host. The types of tests required to find out if heartworms are present include antigen (occult) testing with a small blood sample, x-rays, ultrasound, and angiograms However there are medications that can be taken as a preventive measure in cats, It wold be wise to ask your vet about then especially if you have an out door cat. .

Since heart disease can be a result of kidney and liver disease, a blood work up for those two can be useful. Cats are also prone to hyper thyroid disease and that is something else that can affect the heart so the Vet may recommend a thyroid test.

Radiographs can detect an enlarged heart and also pulmonary edema( failure of the right side of the heart caused by prolonged high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery and right ventricle of the heart.) and fluid in the heart.


F. Echo, Ultra Sound, Angiocardiography, MRI’s, Cat Scans, and other types of Imaging: All this is now available in veterinary medicine but expect to go to a specialist.


A. Diets that minimize the problem Many heart disease patients are way too fat. This is the easiest to prevent. Make sure you cat is getting enough exercise, especially if he/she is an indoor cat. There are may things that you can get such as cat trees, ramps and steps for them to for them to climb Make sure they have plenty of toys to play with.

Furosimide tablets as needed to control coughing and congestion. This is a diuretic and will make your cat urinate and drink more but often works well in relieving the fluid load in the lungs associated with heart disease.

Blood Pressure tablets (enalapril) to help reduce the fluid load the heart has to pump against.

Beta-adrenergic Blockers (atenolol) reduces the oxygen demand by the heart

A multivitamin containing Taurine ( an amino acid that is poorly synthesized by cats and a lack of can cause both blindness and heart disease.

Sometimes steroids are needed to make breathing easier,but they need to be watched carefully as mis use can cause Addison’s Disease or Cushing’s Disease.

Cardiomyopathies, and heartworm disease in cats is extremely serious It is a life long condition, requiring regular visits and medication. If you see any of theses symptoms in your car contact your vet immediately and don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to a specialist. Labored breathing, weight loss, rear end weakness coughing, lethargy, vomiting, collapse, seizures and respiratory problems.

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