What are the symptoms of heart disease in cats?

Symptoms of heart failure in cats

Before talking about heart diseases in cat, we will talk about the heart structures, function, and mode of action.

What is the role of heart in cat’s body?

Heart is the most important vital organ in the body, which act as a pump to oxygenated blood to all the body organs. Heart is a muscle found in the chest consist of four chambers, two upper chambers called(atrium) and two lower chambers called (ventricle) .

Heart play very important function in cat’s body as non oxygenated blood drains in to the right side of the heart coming from the body. Then the blood pumped to the lung to be carried by oxygen. This oxygenated blood drains in to the left side of the heart and then pumped to all the body by the left ventricle. After nutrition of body organs by oxygen and other nutrients in the blood ,it returns again to the heart to complete blood circulation.

What is the meaning of heart failure?

Heart failure means the disability of the heart to do its function in nutrition of body organs daily. In other words , heart failure occurs when the body can no longer compensate for a diseased heart. Heart failure can occur on either or both the left ( common ) and right (rare) sides of the heart.

There are many factors can help in occurrence of heart diseases in cats as old age and obesity.

What are the causes of heart failure in cats ?

In Most cases, cats develop heart diseases for unknown reasons. In some breeds heart diseases is a genetic disease as the cat may born with heart abnormalities. High blood pressure also lead to heart failure. Heart disease occurs as a result of some diseases as hyperthyroidism (hormonal abnormality).

 What are the clinical signs and symptoms of heart disease in cats?

In early stages of heart failure, there’s no clear symptoms appear on diseased cat. The majority of cats which go to veterinary hospital with emergency signs of heart disease ( difficulty in breathing _ paralysis) don’t have a known history of heart disease.

The main symptoms of heart failure in cats are:

  • Open mouthing breathing.
  • lethargy.
  • Hind limb paralysis which occurs due to development of blood clot on the blood vessels supplying the hind limb.
  • Blue purple discoloration of the gums and tongue due to deficiency of oxygen (cyanosis).
  • Coughing and fast breathing.
  • Abnormal fast heart rate.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Pulmonary edema in which the fluids accumulates in the lung.
  • Ascitis in which the fluids accumulates in the abdomen.
  • Difficulty in breathing collapse /fainting

These above symptoms may be indicator to heart failure or any other disease, so when these symptoms appear on cat ,it must be taken to the veterinary cardiologist quickly.

 Diagnosis of heart failure in cats

  1. Physical examination of the cat for detecting any abnormalities
  2. The recommended tests for diagnosis of heart diseases failure in cats include :
  3. Urine analysis , CBC and biochemical profile are done looking for any other underlying diseases. ..
  4. Measurement of thyroid hormone levels for detecting hyperthyroidism as it is a main factor in development of cat heart diseases ..
  5. Blood pressure measurement ..
  6. Chest and abdomen radiography as fluid accumulations in the lung or abdomen may appear (pulmonary edema _pleural effusion) ..
  7. Cardiac ultrasound, in this test sound waves are used to create a heart picture

By using all these tests, heart failure can be detected and confirmed so a good plane for treatment can be done.

 What is the goal from heart disease treatment?

  • The goal from treatment is to prevent the development of congestive heart failure and the relief of heart to do its function well ..
  • Treatment is very important to improve heart muscle performance ..
  • Reducing the danger of blood clot formation .. decreasing blood pressure In case of high blood pressure .
  • Decrease heart rate and decrease the over work load on the heart

Treatment of cat with heart failure

There are many factors which treatment depending on as clinical signs , type and severity of heart disease present. As with most illnesses , early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure can significantly improve your cat’s quality of life. Some medications are used for treatment of heart failure as:

  1. Beta blockers it is described to decrease heart rate as the heart filled with blood and decrease the heart work load. it is commonly used prior to the development of heart failure signs on cat with elevated heart rate.
  2. Diuretics are used for the removal of accumulated fluids in the lung and abdomen.
  3. Anti coagulant drugs as it reduces the risk of developing blood clot.


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