Cat Congestive Heart Failure
Cat Congestive Heart Failure
The job of a cat’s heart is to pump blood to its entire body. Any abnormality in the heart can decrease its ability to perform that task. When the function of the heart is compromised, fluid can accumulate in the lungs and other body cavities. This is what congestive heart failure is.
Causes in Cats
• If a cat is born with a congenital defect, it can lead to CHF
• Any degeneration of the valves of the heart
• Cat Heartworms
• Cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the muscle itself
• The lining around the heart can become diseased as well
• If the electrical impulses malfunction, arrhythmias will be caused and consequently CHF will develop
Regardless of the age or breed of a cat, this disease can occur. The usual and most common cause is cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle. Thyroid malfunction and prolonged anemia can also cause CHF.
The heart failure will reduce the blood blow to the muscles, which can cause fatigue. When your cat has congestive heart failure it is likely that fluid will accumulate in the lungs as well. This fluid can cause shortness of breath as well as Cat Coughs and difficulty breathing. Fluid can also accumulate in the chest cavity and abdomen.
Signs and Symptoms
• difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Cat Loss of Weight
Diagnosis and Treatment
If your veterinarian suspects congestive heart failure, there will be some diagnostic tests. Aside from the normal stethoscope, your cat will most likely undergo a chest x-ray, EKG, blood pressure check and possibly and ultrasound of the heart.
Treatment will be determined by the cause of the condition. Initially your cat may have to spend a few days at the animal hospital. During that time your cat will most likely have oxygen, a diuretic (water pill) and nitroglycerine.
Other treatments can include :
• removal of the fluid around the lungs
• water pills
• ACE inhibitors which block some of the hormones that circulate during heart failure. They also prevent salt retention
• A low salt diet
• lanoxin or other form of digoxin that will regulate the heart beat
• Dietary supplements
The care of your cat after it comes home will have to be exact. All of the medicines prescribed by your vet need to be given on a routine basis. Be alert to changes in activity, ability to exercise, and whether there is interest in the family. If any symptoms such as coughing, extreme fatigue or shortness of breath reoccur, you need to call your veterinarian.
Difficulty breathing is a veterinary emergency. Take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.
There are conditions that show the same symptoms as congestive heart failure.
• Cat Asthma can cause respiratory difficulty and coughing.
• Infections in the lungs such as pneumonia have similar symptoms.
• Tumors in the chest, which will cause pressure, can also affect breathing.
• Pleural effusion, fluid in the chest, can also occur with CHF, but is a common malady in cats.
If any of these symptoms occur you should contact your vet immediately for proper diagnosing and care.