Cat Heart Disease
Summary: Cat heart disease if diagnosed earlier and treated, the chance of survival if high and may live longer.
Our favorite pets, cats and dogs, also suffer heart disease just like we do. Luckily, they don’t develop fatty lesions in the blood vesicles of their heart which means they do not get heart attacks. Like all mammals, like cats and dogs, have a four-chambered heart consisting of a left and right atrium and a left and right ventricle. The left and right atria receive blood from the lungs and body; whereas the left ventricle is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body while the right ventricle pumps the blood to the lungs for oxygen. Valves situated between the atria, ventricles, and the two vessels leading to the heart, prevent the blood from flowing in the right direction.
The common symptoms of dog and cat disease may include weakness, poor appetite, difficulty breathing, coughing, enlarged abdomen, pale bluish gums, rapid or weak heart rate, and heart murmurs. Heart murmurs because of heart disease are different from heart murmurs due to thin blood viscosity or anemia. Some pets with heart disease develop obvious venous pulse and may have an abnormal heart rhythm. As the circulatory system fails, the kidneys and liver flood with blood and work inefficiently. But, cats most commonly develop one of the three different types of heart disease such as dialated cardiomyopathy (DCM), restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), and hypertrophy cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Cat heart disease usually involves the entire heart muscle and not just the valves. Sadly, we are usually unaware of cat heart disease until the heart is well on its way to failing. All the forms of cat heart disease have similar signs and can’t be used to separate one form of heart disease from another. Normally, the only signs are weight loss and difficulty breathing, and cats with these forms of heart disease will not survive for long.
The most common cause cat heart disease is a deficiency in the amino acid, taurine. Taurine deficiency can cause the muscles of the heart to loose their strength, this is called Dialated Cardiomyopathy. In addition, it can also cause degeneration of the retinas of the eye. Cats with heart disease are weak and lost weight; they have difficulty breathing and may gasp for air. But, one common symptom of cat heart disease is the clots that form within the heart and break loose blocking the flow of blood to the rear legs. If your cat has this condition, you may notice that they seem paralyzed.
RCM is a form similar to HCM and is usually seen in older cats. It reveals itself in gradually poorer health function with reduced ability to pump. RCM leads to an accumulation of blood in the heart and an enlargement of the atrium. So far, the most common type of ca heart disease is the HCM, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. HCM is a heart disorder in which the left wall of the heart grows and thickens.
A veterinarian can treat your cat for the symptoms and suffering which has been cause by HCH. The vet will treat the actual cat heart disease by giving your cat beta-blockers to slow down the heart beat. Plus, it also gives the blood enough time to fill the heart chamber and increase the pumping action. If your cat is diagnosed earlier and treated, it can survive for a quite long time.