Detecting, Diagnosing, and Treating Heart Issues In Your Cat
If your cat has recently been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart murmur, or other cat cardiology issues, you’ve likely turned to the internet out of concern. We’re glad you found us! Here at GeniusVets, we firmly believe that petcare information should come directly from veterinarians, and not from the all-too-often inaccurate Dr. Google.
That’s why we decided to send some of the most frequently asked questions about cat cardiology to veterinarians, and we’ve compiled their responses to provide you with helpful information you can trust. Though we sourced the cat cardiology information below from leading veterinarians, we encourage you to speak with your veterinarian. If you don’t currently have a veterinarian, use the GeniusVets Directory to find a trusted vet near you.
The heart is a very critical organ in the body. If the heart is not functioning well, your cat will not have an excellent quality of life.
One crucial recommendation in the fight to keep your cat's heart healthy is to have an annual wellness exam, if not twice yearly. We know that cats specifically can hide heart disease, as they are very stoic creatures who are experts at hiding illnesses in general
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle, one of the more common diseases in cat cardiology.
Cats can have issues with high blood pressure, and it’s one of the many things that we recommend testing for in our senior cats. Now we know that your cats can get excited and very nervous when they come to the clinic, so we also have to interpret those values in light of their anxiety.
They sure can. A murmur is an abnormal flow of blood through a heart valve. But we know that only 50% of cats with heart disease have heart murmurs, so it's not as common as it is in dogs.
An irregular heartbeat means that the heart is not pumping effectively or is out of rhythm. We would detect that by listening with a stethoscope on our physical exam. The cat may be lethargic and may not have a lot of energy to be the playful cat you perhaps once knew.
That's a good question. For one, cats like to hide their disease, so you may not detect that they have a problem, or if you do, you want to know precisely what that problem is to understand how to treat it best.
During their annual wellness exam, we listen to the heart to detect an abnormal rhythm or heart murmur if they exist. We also have a specialized blood test to determine whether a cat has heart disease or whether the heart is healthy. And more specifically, we can use an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart.
The heart treatments that we know of for cats are more along the lines of preventative care.
Some of the things you can do to prevent heart issues in your cat are:
- Giving them proper exercise
- Feeding them a well-balanced diet
- Not letting them get overweight
The above actions on your part can go a long way in helping to prevent heart disease in your cat.
The echocardiogram is a specialized ultrasound where we measure the muscle of the heart. We can detect if it's too thick or if it's pumping effectively. Diseased cat hearts are not very flexible, and so the heart is just a big pump. And so you can think about if it's not very flexible, it's not going to squeeze well. And so, we can determine that with an ultrasound.
All compassionate and competent veterinarians will tout the power of preventative medicine. Any time we can catch a disease early in that process, it often carries a much better prognosis for your faithful feline.
The ASPCA is another great resource on the symptoms and treatment of cat heart disease. If you have further questions about cat cardiology or would like to set up an appointment for your cat’s wellness exam, please reach out to your vet. If you don’t already have one, we are here to help you find a trusted local veterinarian.