Did you know that as many as 15 percent of our feline friends could have some form of heart disease? Fluffy definitely has a big heart, and a lot of love to give. It’s important to know what to watch for! In this article from Westside Animal Hospital, a local Savannah, GA vet discusses heart disease in cats.
Overview of Heart Disease in Cats
There are two kinds of feline heart disorders. Congenital issues are problems that Fluffy was born with. These include things like malformed valves and murmurs. The more common type is the acquired disorder. This happens over time, and is most common in kitties that are about middle aged—which is about 7 in cats—or older. Simple wear and tear is often the culprit, but sometimes injuries, infection, or illness can trigger these issues. The most common kind of acquired disorder is cardiomyopathy. In fact, cardiomyopathy accounts for nearly two-thirds of the heart conditions diagnosed in cats. Other types include things like high blood pressure; myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart; and feline aortic thromboembolism, which is associated with blood clots. Ask your vet for more information.
Unfortunately, there’s no failsafe way to determine if Fluffy will develop heart issues. These issues can happen to any kitty, and at any time. However, it is worth noting that heart problems are more common in males than in females. Certain breeds, such as Maine Coons, Ragdolls, and Persians are also high risk. And, as with many other medical issues, the chances of a cat developing heart problems will increase as she ages. Things like stress and malnutrition also increase the risks.
Signs Of Heart Disease
The signs of heart disease in cats can be quite subtle. This is one reason that cardiovascular issues often go undetected in cats, until the problem has become severe. Keep a close eye out for warning signs. The most common symptoms are respiratory distress and trouble walking. Fluffy may also seem weak in her back legs. Some other things to watch for include coughing, loss of appetite, rapid weight gain or loss, depression, and vomiting. Fluffy may also seem restless or lethargic. Contact your vet if you notice anything amiss. The sooner an issue is diagnosed, the better!
Is your feline buddy due for an exam? Contact us here at Westside Animal Hospital, your Savannah, GA vet clinic, anytime!