Cardiomyopathy is the most common type of heart health-issue in cats, but it can develop in several different forms and the causes, treatments and forecasts can vary greatly. Here’s what you need to know about heart health-issue in cats.
Types of Cardiomyopathy
Most cats diagnosed with heart health-issue have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy characterized by a thickened heart muscle that no longer contains as much blood. Meanwhile, dilated cardiomyopathy involves a dilated and enlarged heart that contracts poorly. Restrictive cardiomyopathy is diagnosed when the heart is stiffened and does not fill properly. Sometimes a veterinarian diagnoses unclassified cardiomyopathy, in which it is clear that there is heart health-issue, but the structures of the heart do not quite fit into one of the well-defined categories.
Why does heart health-issue develop?
If your cat is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, you may never know the cause or doubtful that the health-issue is hereditary. However, it can develop as a result of other health-issue (such as hyperthyroidism or chronic high blood pressure) and, in some matter, heart health-issue can be partially reversible if the underlying health-issue is treated. Previously, heart health-issue was often caused by a lack of taurine in a cat’s diet, but an increased awareness of the nutritional role of taurine has led to almost all forms of cat food providing a sufficient amount.
What are the Signs of Heart health-issue?
You can first find out about your cat’s heart health-issue if your veterinarian takes a heart murmur or detects an unusual heartbeat during a routine examination. If these signs are noticed, a scan of the heart can be ordered. In the early stages, heart health-issue offers few (if any) visible symptoms in cats, and your pet can live for many years without major problems. As soon as more obvious symptoms develop, heart health-issue may have caused heart failure. At this point, you may find that your cat breathes harder or faster, activity is reduced, and appetite decreases.
How to treat heart health-issue?
Once heart failure develops, your veterinarian may be able to offer helpful medications to slow the progression of the health-issue and improve your pet’s quality of life. Although the health-issue is usually incurable, it is known that cats enjoy many happy years without major symptoms. For example, diuretics can be used to prevent fluid from building up in your pet’s lungs or chest, beta blockers can reduce pressure on the heart, and calcium channel sensitizers can stimulate blood flow and help your cat’s heart pump harder. Your veterinarian may also provide blood thinning medications to reduce the risk of heart complications.