Heart disease in cats can be either present at birth or acquired. Congenital heart disease in cats is present at birth, and can be inherited from the parents. Cats with heart disease are prone to congestive heart failure, since untreated heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure.
Early onset of the disease can be difficult to identify because most cats do not display any noticeable signs until the disease is advanced, to a point in which cats tend to become more introverted and withdrawn.
The most common signs of heart disease in cats are shown below. It’s important to keep in mind that not every cat will develop every single one of the following symptoms and many cats will have more than one that they experience.
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Lethargy or inactivity
- Difficulty with or discontinuing exercise
- Regularly elevated heart rate
- Increased respiratory rate and effort
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Sudden hind leg paralysis
Treatment for Heart Disease in Cats
Unfortunately, there is no cure for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats and damage caused to the structure of the heart muscle is unfortunately irreversible. In some cases, however, where heart disease is secondary to a treatable condition, such as hyperthyroidism, the symptoms can be alleviated.
The best way to care for your pet's heart is by identifying signs of heart disease early. This is why Brook Farm offers affordable Feline Cardiac Risk Screening. With a quick, painless appointment, we can run a test that can identify your pet's risk of developing heart disease. Book an appointment today.
In order to reduce the risk of cats developing congestive heart failure, your veterinarian can prescribe a variety of medications. These medications aim to help relax the heart muscle, slow down the heart beat, and decrease the amount of work the heart has to do. Also, diuretics are commonly prescribed to reduce any fluid overload.
In addition to medication though, there are other types of treatment your veterinarian may recommend. Alternative treatments include starting on a low-sodium diet, oxygen therapy, taurine supplementation, or surgical procedures to remove any excess fluid buildup from the chest cavity or abdomen.