Heart diseases in cats tend to manifest with particular prevalence in adulthood, with males of certain breeds being the profiles with the highest risk. If your cat suddenly becomes restless at night where it wasn’t before, be on the look-out for other signs of heart disease. She is wondering if the disease really is irreversible, like she's been told. Sure, cats nap a lot no matter the circumstance. Heart disease in cats is common and is a common cause of sudden unexpected death in cats. The following tests are important tools used to determine the cause of the symptoms so that appropriate treatment can begin. If coughing is seen in cats, it is more likely to be caused by … In other cases, even if we're not getting it at that stage when they're on deaths door, it will progress very quickly and they'll go from being alright to very sick, pretty quickly. The weakening of the heart in … Unlike most dogs with heart disease, many cats with heart disease show no symptoms: no cough, no lethargy and no decline in appetite. So don't worry and don't feel guilty about that, it’s very common. If it's early then it may at least be partly reversible if there is an underlying cause. Even though cat heart disease is a severe illness, it can be managed and even treated if it is spotted early enough. Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition that causes the muscular walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s efficiency and sometimes creating symptoms in other parts of the body. While occasionally observed in kittens, a disease called cardiomyopathy is almost always an acquired condition and is by far the most common among all adult feline heart disorders, accounting for almost two-thirds of heart conditions diagnosed in cats. Coughing is rarely seen in cats with heart disease, although it is quite common in dogs. cat, flu, respiratory, stress, call the vet. Medications: There are several drugs that might be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of HCM. She's also asking what medication there is to treat it and then ultimately what the prognosis is? My first comment would be that cats are really good at hiding disease. Heart failure in cats is a difficult disease to pick up at home, and can be even harder to treat. Your cat’s symptoms as well as the physical exam findings may suggest heart disease as well as several other diseases of the heart, lungs, or bloodstream. 10 Weird Cat Behaviors That Could Be Signs of a Sick Cat, 7 Ways Cat Lovers Can Celebrate International Cat Day. This was a problem I believe in the 1980s or earlier when we weren't aware that taurine was linked to heart health. My first comment would be that cats are really good at hiding disease. They may be sleeping more, they're not going to exercise and so you might not pick up anything. The biggest difference is that cats tend to mask their signs better than dogs, and therefore go longer without detection. However, if your cat appears less playful or tires more easily due to weakness rather than laziness, you may have a problem. So I guess the classic example of this would be a taurine deficiency, which we don't really worry about so much anymore because cat foods have extra taurine added to them because we know about this link. Congestive heart failure is a life-threatening condition that can occur in cats at any age, though it is most common in older cats, or cats with preexisting medical conditions.Cats who are suffering from congestive heart failure need immediate veterinary care, so as a pet parent it is important to be aware of the symptoms. And lastly, which isn't in every case of heart failure, sometimes we'll have an irregularity in that heartbeat and a specific anti-arrhythmic treatment may be needed or something to try and get the heart rhythm back to normal. Cat Heart Disease. Hyperthyroidism can cause heart disease, amongst other things, and if we're picking up this disease in the early stages and we’re then reversing that overactive thyroid, or that increased levels of thyroid hormone in the blood, then we could potentially reverse some of those changes within the heart. Feline cardiomyopathy or “heart muscle disease” and feline heartworm disease are the most common causes of sudden death in outwardly healthy cats. More likely than weight gain is a bloated or distended abdomen. If you find your cat has fainted or collapsed, seek veterinary help. Symptoms of Heart Problems in Cats In many cases, cats with heart problems do not show signs of disease. As the disease progresses, signs can include: 1. Blue or gray gums or tongue 3. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most commonly diagnosed cardiac disease in cats. An enlarged heart in cats can be a sign of heart disease. So I spoke about the aortic thromboembolism or saddle thrombus risk. How Your Veterinarian Diagnoses Heart Disease. Heart disease in cats presents itself in much the same way as in dogs, with a few exceptions. Symptoms of heart disease Symptoms can vary depending on the type of heart disease your cat has. Next up is a question from Mary. If your cat is experience any of these other signs, it may all be due to heart disease. Cats, as most people know, are extremely stoic animals. Be aware of other signs as well and seek veterinary assistance. The other example where heart failure may be reversible in cats is an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Pet owners should monitor predisposed breeds and particularly watch for weight loss and loss of appetite. Often it can be very frustrating to treat, we're not getting the same response that we do in dogs with heart failure for example. So some cats, they'll only be presented when their chest is completely full of fluid. It’s really painful. Cats will modify their behavior to hide their disease whereas a dog will run and run and then will collapse. If your cat begins to exhibit changes in behavior like acting depressed, withdrawn, reluctance to accept affection, or isolating itself, the behavior may be caused by heart disease. Has Symptoms Has Symptoms Has Symptoms My cat had diarrhea starting 4 days ago. During stage C heart disease, there are obvious symptoms that suggest congestive heart failure in your cat. It’s that simple! If your cat shows signs of laboured breathing, this may be a symptom of heart disease. Cats will modify their behavior to hide their disease whereas a dog will run and run and then will collapse. Most frequently, it is "saddle thrombus," by which a blood clot lodges at the end of the aorta and cuts off proper blood supply to the hind legs. In severe cases, your cat may need to be hospitalized and may require surgery. If you would like me to answer any question you have about your pet’s health, simply fill in this form and I’ll try and get you the information that you need. And also is it painful? And then, if we're talking about the distress that heart disease and heart failure can cause, well at the end of the disease, when it's becoming all too much for the cat and the body to take, then effectively the lungs or the chest very often are filling up with fluid, ultimately causing suffocation and that can be very distressing for a cat as you can well understand. It causes a cat to be tired, to be weak, to be short of breath. It also reduces the oxygen demand of the heart. Now, as far as treatment goes, I always struggle with treating cats with heart failure because there's not much good quality evidence that shows very much of what we do makes a really significant difference. Hind limb paralysis 7. And then the last thing that we think about would be something called clopidogrel. We are a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Treating Cat Heart Disease. We can use drugs like benazepril, or other drugs within this class which are called ace inhibitors. Any respiratory problems need urgent treatment as they could prove fatal if left. We can use something called pimobendan. Two other vital signs are difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. So actually the aorta, which is the main artery coming off the heart, is the most common location for this. So if that's the case, then definitely we should be reaching for this drug. In some cases, the cat may be asymptomatic, and heart disease comes to light during a routine health check. What happens is the blood doesn't flow to the back legs and the muscle starts to die. I took him to the vet yesterday and was given antibiotics to stop the diarrhea. You're not going to pick up breathlessness or an exercise intolerance or an inability to chase a ball, because they just don't carry out those behaviors. If your cat is … Some medications may be injected, applied topically, or administered in pill form. In these cases they will die straight away, unfortunately, or they’ll be euthanized because they're struggling so much and we're not wanting to put them through too much. Life expectancy for those not dying on presentation can be anywhere from about 6 - 18 months. We can give this drug to any cat with heart failure, but if we're having an ultrasound (known as an echocardiogram) performed to have a look at the structures within the heart and also to assess heart function, then what we sometimes see is something called smoke within the heart. Now what is painful or what potentially is painful, is the risk of a blood clot forming and that blood clot then breaks off from within the heart where it blocks an artery. At the very least, treatment can help prolong your cat’s life and ensure they enjoy a high quality of life. In the majority of cases, heart disease is benign, and affected cats remain asymptomatic throughout their lives. This is a drug that may or may not help, but it can improve how well the heart contracts and how efficiently it works as a pump. I gave him the medicine that morning but he stopped eating and became very lethargic. So definitely don't feel guilty about not realizing that your cat was in heart failure. Another form of cat heart disease is what is known as a heart murmur. They're really struggling, their bodies are shutting down. The truth is that cats can and do suffer from heart disease, but it’s often a problem with the muscular wall of the heart, rather than the heart … Several studies have confirmed the influence of the genetic component in its development. Heart Murmurs. The blood clot blocks the aorta or the vessels feeding off the aorta that go to the back legs. And then finally, the prognosis and life expectancy is actually very varied. Omega-3 fatty acids and special diets formulated for cats with heart disease may also be beneficial in supporting cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Weakness or lethargy (tiredness) 5. So definitely don't feel guilty about not realizing that your cat was in heart failure. It’s difficult to be any more specific than that. This is something called a saddle thrombus or an aortic thromboembolism, and is really painful. They sent us home with medicine to enhance his appetite and recommended seeing a cardi… The clinician, however, should not be complacent as heart disease can be life-threatening. This is the term given when the valves of the heart do not close properly causing the blood flow to be less efficient.. Heart murmurs are normally found in older cats, as the heart muscle … Often, especially with heart disease, it won't be picked up until late. Volume overload heart failure occurs as a result of any disease that increases volume of blood in the ventricle (s), thus increasing blood flow. She has a cat that's been diagnosed with heart failure that was only diagnosed when the disease was quite advanced. I took him to the animal hospital today and they diagnosed him with bradycardia and slight anemia but all the other tests came back normal so they dont know what is going on. A cat will not suddenly lose its appetite for no good reason. Because the different forms of heart failure are unfortunately not curable. In mixed-breed cats, the disease is more common in young adult males. It could just be because we are often only treating cats with heart failure late in the disease process, when too much damage has already been done. Signs of Heart Disease in Cats Lethargy Poor appetite Weight loss Weakness Exercise intolerance Shortness of breath Labored and/or rapid breathing Wheezing and/or coughing Pale or blue gums Collapse Heart murmur (abnormal heartbeat heard by the … Difficult or rapid breathing 2. A cat will just slowly reduce their activity levels. There will almost always be a larger cause behind a poor appetite. Weight loss is definitely a symptom of heart disease, though weight gain can be, as well. Now in most cases the changes are irreversible, especially when they're picked up late. It is very rare that a cat will complain about pain or discomfort. The femoral pulse may be weak or absent in one or both hind legs. Is it something that is causing pain to her cat? Cats, however, do vomit as a result of heart disease, where dogs do not. However, there are signs to look out for that include: Fast breathing/working harder to breath (sometimes coughing) While coughing is a major symptom of heart disease in dogs, it does not often occur in cats. Other generalised symptoms of heart disease cats include: Abnormal heart sounds (i.e., muffled, galloping rhythm, murmurs) Oedema or swelling of the limbs Weight loss (cardiac cachexia) Symptoms are pain and the inability to walk normally on the hind legs. Purebred cats like the Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Persian, Siberian and Norwegian Forest Cat have a high incidence of heart disease in their populations, and the responsible genetic mutation has been tracked in the Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds. Occasionally the mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes, and even the skin, may show signs of cyanosis (a bluish colour). Death can occur as a result of emboli or blood clots as well as sudden and severe rhythm abnormalities. Some may show subtle signs of increased respiratory rate (greater than 30 breathes per minute at rest) or greater abdominal effort with each breathe but these changes frequently go unnoticed by even the most observant cat owner. Collapse 6. In the early stages of congestive heart failure, cats might show no signs at all. But there are a few things that we can use, we do use and that I feel probably do make a difference. However, the symptoms and complaints can be alleviated and the course of the disease slowed down, so that your cat can still live a long and beautiful life despite heart failure. Learn more about what an enlarged heart means for cats. Signs of heart disease in cats include trouble breathing, sudden inability to use one limb and crying, lack of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing possibly accompanied by fluid buildup in the lungs and … Some of the things the vet will look for are: Enlargement in … Cats are known to mask symptoms of illness. This then allows little clots to form which can then form bigger clots which break away and cause those problems like we’ve discussed. Restlessness is harder to recognize in cats than in dogs, as it seems many healthy cats are restless, especially at night. In some cases though, where the disease is progressing very slowly, we might get a lot longer. Other symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in cats include collapsing or sudden heart failure. Now that forms because we get turbulent blood flow within the heart, and effectively certain parts of the blood within the heart can actually become pretty stationary. These can reduce salt retention and also fluid build-up, as well as reduce blood pressure, which again may or may not help. It’s a diuretic, which basically causes the kidney’s to pee out more fluid and so reduces the fluid build-up that we'd get in heart failure. Another one of the symptoms of heart disease in cats is cold extremities. The sooner a heart disease is recognized in cats, the better. Now as a condition, it's not painful. Thromboembolisms are blood clots, and they are often a result of heart disease in cats - and often the first sign that is noticed. Eventually, this can bring on signs of congestive heart failure. In addition, she may be coughing as well. Heart disease can progress very slowly and lead to severe damage or death. So furosemide is one of those things. Especially as it's getting worse and the lack of exercise isn't enough to compensate for the fact that the heart's not working well. But the condition as a whole, it's not painful. The type of heart disease cats suffer from is different to dogs, which is why for a long time it was thought (incorrectly) that heart disease was rare in our feline friends. This may seem like a desirable trait to some, but in fact, it makes it much more difficult to determine whether or not the cat needs medical attention. If you find your cat has fainted or collapsed, seek veterinary help. An annual office visit with your veterinarian is perhaps the most important step in detecting the early … Often, especially with heart disease, it won't be picked up until late. Fainting/Collapsing. This is the blood which is normally black actually becoming quite cloudy, which is these little clots forming already. The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”. It's going to affect the cat's quality of life and it's going to affect how they're feeling, but I guess pain itself isn't necessarily something that they're experiencing. 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