Here is the situation with cats and heart disease:
Cats exhibit heart disease in the same way humans present with the disease. Most heart conditions in felines correspond to similar diseases in man.
Our pet cat, Puff:
Our 18-year-old, grey haired, cat showed signs of difficulty breathing, swelling in the legs and could not eat or move around normally. The veterinarian examined Puff and found the cat exhibiting congestive heart failure. The cat now takes lasix to remove the swelling in her legs and enalapril to help improve the pumping mechanism of the heart. The medication helped improve the quality of life for the cat with improved breathing, eating and mobility.
What cardiac conditions commonly occur in cats?
Coronary heart disease (heart attack) and heartworm take place infrequently in cats, but other heart diseases occur commonly in the cat. The conditions seen in cats consist of the following:
1) Cardiomyopathy or weakened heart muscle
2) Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats due to breakdown of the heart’s electrical system
3) Heart valve problems (aortic, mitral, pulmonary or tricuspid valve defects)
4) Inflammation (myocarditis) triggered by an infection of the heart muscle or lining
5) Congestive heart failure secondary to cardiac disease
What changes do you watch for or observe in cats with heart disease?
1) Rapid breathing
2) Struggling to breath
3) Low energy
5) Inability to carry out everyday activities
6) Decreased appetite
7) Weight loss
8) Swelling (puffiness) in the legs
9) Swelling (puffiness) in the belly or abdomen area
What about treatment for feline heart disease:
Management of heart disease in cats resembles treatment in humans. Water pills (diuretics) like lasix rid the body of excess fluid. Betablocker drugs like metoprolol slow the heart to help it fill better. Ace inhibitors like enalapril improve heart function so the heart pumps better. Calcium channel blockers like diltiazem relax the heart muscle so the heart fills better.
What does the cat owner do to prevent long-term problems with heart conditions?
By having your feline companion complete a yearly health examination, you can assess disease early and prevent early death from heart disease. If your cat has any signs of heart disease, initiate care with a veterinarian as soon as possible. With proper treatment, you can add a few more quality years to the life of your beloved cat.
Cat Health Guide. Feline Heart Disease. Cat-health-guide.org
Our Happy Cat. Feline Cardiac Disease. Our-happy-cat.com
Vet Info. Feline Cardiomyopathy Treatment. VetInfo.com
Family Vet. Cats-Cardiac. Familyvet.com