Heart disease can affect cats of any age and can be either congenital (condition present at birth) or acquired (condition developed over time). Just because your feline friend is young does not mean that you shouldn’t pay attention for the signs of heart disease. Our cats may hide symptoms when they don’t feel well. For this reason, responsible pet owners should keep up with regular veterinary care to detect or prevent heart problems. CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets is here to help when heart-related issues are diagnosed in your cat.
Heart disease affects 15% of all cats and is difficult to detect. A cat with heart disease might have a heart murmur or rhythm problem that your veterinarian would hear. However, many cats have a silent disease that can only be found by a blood test — NT ProBNP. If it’s late in the course of the disease, then a cat might show signs of disease — such as faster breathing, weakness, or hiding.
If your veterinarian finds a heart problem or your cat is showing signs of heart disease, it’s best to talk with a board-certified cat cardiologist. CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets is one of the few veterinary practices with board-certified veterinary cardiologists on staff.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Cats
By far, the single most common heart problem that affects cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM. This is a genetic-based disease that causes the heart muscle to become too thick. When caught early, this disease can be treated to improve the quality and duration of life in affected cats.
Diagnosing HCM in Cats
If you have concerns about your cat and heart disease, it’s best to reach out to a pet cardiologist near you to get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan. CVCA has several locations in Maryland, Kentucky, Texas, and Virginia. Give us a call, and we will set up one or all of the following:
Physical exam – including listening to the heart and lungs, checking your cat’s blood pressure.
NT-proBNP – blood test that measures a heart stress hormone thet can help detect heart disease.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) – to measure electrical activity of your cat’s heart to find heart rhythm problems.
Echocardiogram – ultrasound by a board-certified vet cardiologist to view your cat’s heart in great detail. This test is the gold standard for diagnosing heart disease in cats.
Because They’re Part of the Family
Heart disease tends to be less common in cats than dogs, but it still affects one out of every ten cats around the world. If heart disease goes untreated, it can lead to congestive heart failure.
Don’t risk losing part of your family to an often treatable heart condition. If you have concerns, seek medical advice quickly. Our board-certified cat cardiologists are here to help.
In many cases, cats with heart problems do not show signs of disease. However, there are signs to look out for that include:
Fast breathing/working harder to breath (sometimes coughing)
Getting more tired or heavy breathing when playing
Weakness and/or collapse
Hiding/isolating/decrease in activity
Treatment of HCM in Cats
Heart disease in cats can rarely be cured but the good news is that it can be managed with medicine — in pill or liquid form. Most of the drugs used for cat heart disease are also used for people with similar conditions. Without treatment, HCM can lead to fluid in the lungs, sudden death or a blood clot.
Read about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats and other cat heart diseases by clicking on the links below. If you have concerns about your cat, schedule an exam as soon as possible. Remember, early detection is the key to a longer life for your cat. Our board-certified veterinary cardiologists are just a phone call away.