What is Heart Disease in Cats?

What is Heart Disease in Cats?

What is it?

Heart disease in cats refers to a range of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels and can impact the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system. These conditions may include structural abnormalities, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathies. As a result, cat heart disease can lead to various health problems and may require ongoing care and monitoring by a veterinarian.

How is it Treated?

Cat treatment of heart disease depends on the underlying cause of the condition. It may include medications to manage symptoms and improve heart function, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. In addition, some cats may require surgical or interventional procedures to correct structural abnormalities or manage complications. 

Breed Predispositions

Maine Coon Sphynx Ragdoll Persian Siamese Abyssinian Devon Rex British Shorthair Bengal Scottish Fold


Milo, an affectionate and playful tabby cat, had always been the center of Emily’s world. However, when Milo started breathing heavily and exhibited reduced energy levels, Emily grew increasingly worried about his well-being. She promptly took him to the veterinarian for a comprehensive check-up. After performing a series of tests, including an echocardiogram, the veterinarian diagnosed Milo with heart disease—a condition that can affect cats of all breeds and ages.

Cats are surprisingly prone to heart disease, affecting roughly 15 percent of the population. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among cats. It’s also the number 1 killer of dogs. But how do we diagnose heart disease in our furry friends?

Cats are prone to developing heart disease due to their unique anatomy. Their hearts are located low in their chest cavity instead of near their shoulders like dogs’ or humans’. This makes it difficult for them to pump oxygenated blood efficiently.

In addition, their arteries are much narrower than those of dogs or humans. As a result, they tend to develop atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) sooner than dogs or humans. This means that cats may develop heart disease earlier than dogs or humans. They also tend to live shorter lives than either dogs or humans.

Types of Heart Diseases in Cats

Several types of heart diseases affect cats. Some are congenital (present at birth). Others occur later in life. Congenital heart defects include patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), ventricular septal defect (VSD), and tetralogy of Fallot (TOF).

Two types of heart disease in cats include congenital and acquired. Congenital heart disease occurs during fetal development, while acquired heart disease happens after birth. Both conditions can lead to sudden death, although each type requires different treatments.

Types of Heart Diseases in Cats
  • Congenital heart diseases are defects that appear during fetal development. Problems with the structure of the heart itself cause it. These problems usually result in abnormal blood flow through the body. There are two main categories of congenital heart diseases: Cyanotic and cyanotic. Low oxygen levels in the bloodstream characterize cyanotic heart diseases. Acyanotic heart diseases are marked instead by high oxygen levels.
  1. Cyanotic heart diseases can be further divided into four groups based on the location of the problem. Ventricular septal defect (VSD), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), pulmonary stenosis (PS), and tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) are all common types of cyanotic heart diseases.
  2. Acyanotic heart disease can also be divided into four groups. Atrial septal defect (ASD), ventricular septal defect, coarctation of the aorta (COA), and hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) are all common forms.
  • Acquired heart disease is caused by damage to the heart muscle. Common causes include inflammation, infection, trauma, and toxins. Symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause but typically appear gradually over weeks or months. Treatment depends on the specific problem causing the damage.

Causes of Feline Heart Failure

Cat’s heart disease dietary indiscretions, Cyanosis, and Acyanosis cause heart disease in cats. Dietary indiscretions include eating too many fatty foods, specifically those containing cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy, fish, poultry, and shellfish.

Cats often eat too many fatty foods. They tend to prefer fatty meats over lean ones. The result is plaque build-up in the arteries and narrowing of the streets. Plaque build-up narrows the arteries, which reduces blood flow through the body.

Cats with poor circulation can develop Cyanosis. Cyanosis occurs when oxygenated blood cannot reach the tissues. This results in pale skin and lips, lack of energy, and even death.

Cats with low blood oxygenation can also develop Acyanosis. Acyanosis occurs when the blood becomes too acidic. This makes the cat appear blue around the mouth and nose.

Dietary indiscretions can lead to plaque build-up in the arterial walls. Plaque build-up narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow.

To prevent plaque build-up in your pet’s arteries, feed him a diet high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in flaxseed oil, salmon, tuna, and other seafood. In addition, feed your cat less greasy food and more fruits and vegetables.

Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercises. Exercise increases heart rate and blood pressure, which improves blood flow throughout the body.

Symptoms of Heart Disease in Cats

Symptoms of Heart Disease in Cats

The most apparent symptom is coughing, especially when eating or drinking. Other signs include lethargy, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, excessive thirst, and difficulty breathing.

The most important symptom of heart disease in cats is difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing indicates that your cat may have trouble getting enough oxygen to his lungs. Your veterinarian should examine your cat to determine whether it needs treatment.

Lack of appetite is another symptom of feline heart disease. Lack of desire means your pet is eating less than usual. This can lead to dehydration, which is dangerous for your cat. If your cat has lost weight, contact your vet immediately.

Weight loss is yet another symptom of heart disease. Weight loss occurs when your cat doesn’t eat as much as usual. This causes him to become dehydrated and weak. He may also experience diarrhea, depression, and weakness.

Dehydration occurs when there isn’t enough water in your body. This happens when you lose too much fluid through sweating, urination, or diarrhea. Dehydration causes fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, and dry mouth.

If your cat has any symptoms of heart disease, see your veterinarian immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can help save your cat’s life.

Diagnosis of Heart Disease in Cats

Veterinary doctors diagnose heart disease in cats using physical examination, X-rays, electrocardiograms (ECGs), echocardiography, and blood tests.

  • Physical examinations involve checking your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, gums, skin, fur, paws, tail, abdomen, chest, neck, head, spine, and limbs. Doctors also examine your cat’s heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach, intestines, bladder, reproductive organs, lymph nodes, thyroid gland, pancreas, gallbladder, and urinary tract.
  • X-rays detect abnormalities in bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and internal organs. They’re also helpful in detecting tumors, cysts, foreign objects, and bone fractures.
  • Electrocardiograms (ECG) measure electrical activity in your cat’s heart. ECGs help diagnose arrhythmias, abnormal rhythms, and cardiac arrest.
  • Echocardiography uses ultrasound waves to create images of your cat’s heart. Echocardiograms help determine the size and shape of your cat’s heart chambers, valves, and walls.
  • Blood tests are performed to determine your cat’s overall health and identify any underlying medical conditions. Blood tests can reveal elevated levels of creatine kinase (CK), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), bilirubin, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, glucose, urea nitrogen, creatinine, total protein, albumin, globulin, triglycerides, cholesterol, thyroxine, free T4, and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

In most cases, congestive heart failure is caused by old age, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, renal as a sign of disease, and valvular heart disease.

Treatment Options for Heart Disease in Cats

Depending on the type and severity, treatment may vary. Treatment options include medication, surgery, and radiation therapy.

  1. Medications are prescribed to treat symptoms of heart disease in your cat. Medication treatment may include antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, digitalis glycosides, nitrates, anticoagulants, digoxin, and warfarin.
  2. Surgery involves removing diseased tissue or replacing damaged parts of your cat’s heart with artificial materials. Surgery is often recommended when your cat experiences severe complications from heart disease.
  3. Radiation therapy involves exposing your cat to low doses of radiation. Radiation therapy is sometimes used to destroy cancer cells in specific cancers. It’s also used to shrink enlarged glands and control pain associated with arthritis in cats.
Treatment Options for Heart Disease in Cats

Treatment for older cats with congestive heart failure focuses on improving their quality of life. Owners can provide plenty of exercise and attention to prevent further deterioration.

How To Prevent Heart Disease in Cats

You can do several things to protect your cat from developing heart problems.

  1. Don’t feed your cat table scraps. Feed your commercial cat food instead. Commercial foods contain no animal fats, known to cause common heart disease in cats.
  2. Avoid giving your cat too much salt. Salt can lead to hypertension, which is another major factor in causing heart disease in cats. Limit your cat’s salt intake to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of their body weight.
  3. Limit your cat’s exposure to cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that can damage your cat’s heart.
  4. Provide your cat with plenty of exercises. Exercise helps your cat maintain a healthy weight and reduces stress.
  5. Monitor your cat’s diet carefully. Please make sure they get regular veterinary care.
  6. Give your cat a balanced diet. Include fresh vegetables and fruits in your cat’s daily meals. Avoid feeding your cat dry kibble. Dry kibbles are usually made from corn, wheat, soybeans, and other grains. These ingredients can contribute to heart disease in cats. Instead, choose canned or raw meat diets. Raw meats are healthier than cooked ones.
  7. Vaccinate your cat against the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). FeLV is an infection that can cause serious health issues in cats. Vaccinating your cat against FeLV prevents them from contracting the virus.
  8. Consult your veterinarian regularly. Ask your vet questions about your cat’s health. This will help ensure that your cat stays healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

The average lifespan of a cat is 12 years. However, considering the age at which they were born, their life expectancy increases significantly. For example, the average lifespan of a kitten is six years. Therefore, if your cat survives until adulthood, it will live up to 15 years.

Cats are susceptible to stress and illness. Therefore, they tend to get sick when they are under pressure. If your cat gets ill, it will likely die sooner than expected. In addition, if your cat suffers from heart problems, their chances of survival decrease even further.

If your cat is suffering from heart problems, there are many things you should know. First, you must ensure that your cat receives proper medical care. You should also keep them away from stressful situations such as loud noises, sudden changes in temperature, and strong smells. You should also provide your cat with plenty of exercise and stimulation. Finally, you should constantly monitor your cat’s health closely.

The first step to diagnosing your cat’s health condition is to take a blood sample from your pet. The test results will tell you what kind of external parasite your cat has. For example, suppose your cat is infected with heartworm disease. In that case, it will show symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, enlarged lymph nodes, and lack of appetite.

If your cat shows any of these signs, you should immediately bring them to the vet. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.

If you’re thinking about euthanasia, there are several things you should consider before making up your mind. First, make sure you’ve done everything possible to help your pet. Next, you should determine what kind of treatment your cat needs, medication or surgery. Finally, if your cat doesn’t seem to improve after trying these treatments, you might want to talk to your vet about euthanasia.

You should also ask yourself how much pain your cat is experiencing. Cats don’t usually show signs of suffering until they’re very sick, so if your cat seems happy and healthy, you probably shouldn’t euthanize them. However, if your cat shows signs of discomfort or distress, such as frequent urination, vomiting, or loss of appetite, you should speak to your veterinarian about euthanasia.

Finally, it would be best if you considered your feelings about euthanasia. Some people feel strongly against it, while others believe euthanasia is never justified. If you decide to euthanize your cat, you must take care of its body afterward. Remember to bury your cat correctly and keep their ashes close to where you planted them.

Yes, they do!

Cats inherit many genetic disorders from their ancestors. Some of these are hereditary, while others are acquired later in life. The most common inherited disease in cats is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Dr. Bonaguro states hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is diagnosed in up to 90% of primary cardiomyopathies. This condition causes the heart muscle to become enlarged and stiff, which leads to congestive heart failure. Other requirements include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/CM), and myxomatous mitral valve degeneration (MMVD).

The following table shows some of cats’ most common inherited cardiac problems.

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCMP)
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCMP)
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy (ARVC/CM)
  • Myxomatous Mitral Valve Degeneration (MMVD)

The heart comprises four chambers (two atria and two ventricles) that pump blood. The left side of the heart pumps oxygenated blood into the lungs, where carbon dioxide is removed from the blood. This blood then flows back into the right side of the heart, pumping it out to the rest of the body.

The right side of the heart receives deoxygenated blood from the body and sends it back to the lungs via the pulmonary artery. The left side of this chamber gets blood from the veins and sends it to the liver via the hepatic vein. Blood then returns to the right side of the right atrium via the inferior vena cava. It then travels through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle, pumped to the lungs via the pulmonary arteries.

Oxygenated blood returns to the left side of the right atrial chamber via the superior vena cava. It then enters the left atrium through the foramen ovale and is pumped into the left ventricle by the tricuspid valve. The left ventricle then pumps blood throughout the body.

Many cats with heart disease will require medication and surgery to correct their symptoms. As a result, some of these cats may experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, or fading vision. However, most cats make a full recovery after treatment is completed.

Cats do not generally experience pain in the same way that humans do. If your cat experiences discomfort, she may vocalize or groom excessively to relieve the feeling.

Some steps you can take to improve your cat’s heart health include: providing them with a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; keeping them active by playing with them regularly; getting them vaccinated against diseases that could harm their hearts (such as feline coronavirus); and ensuring they have regular exams at the veterinarian.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine found that heart disease in cats progresses more quickly than previously thought. The study revealed that 96% of cats with heart disease had advanced coronary artery disease by four years after being diagnosed, compared to only 36% of cats who did not have heart Disease.

A study published in the journal Veterinary Record found that cats with heart disease tended to have lower body weights than healthy cats. This finding may be due to a combination of factors, including reduced appetite, difficulty breathing, and fatigue.

Yes, cats with heart disease can vomit. This is usually due to their condition, causing them to lose fluids and electrolytes. If your cat has heart disease and is vomiting, it is essential to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Cats are susceptible to heart disease due to their lack of a protective layer of fur and the fact that they typically have fewer fatty tissues than humans.

Cats with heart disease may sleep a lot due to the medications they take for their condition.

There is no definitive answer to this question since so many factors can influence a cat’s survival with heart disease. However, depending on the severity and location of the disease, it may be fatal in some cases. Heart failure is a leading cause of death in cats, and any medical condition that causes decreased blood flow to organs or tissues can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Several things, including a brain tumor or an infection in the brain, may cause a seizure in a cat. It is also possible for seizures to be linked to heart disease.

Potential concerns if your cat is on heart medication include an increased risk for kidney problems and thyroid gland abnormalities. Therefore, it’s essential to a veterinarian about the risks and benefits of any particular medication before putting your cat on it.

The final stages of congestive heart failure in cats are usually a decrease in function and an increase in fatigue. If the cat is not treated, it will eventually die from the condition.

Feline cardiomyopathy (FCM), interstitial fibrosis, and dilated cardiomyopathy are some heart diseases cats can develop in adulthood.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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