Cat Heart Murmur Diagnosis

Cat heart murmurs aren't always a life-threatening condition and in some cases a murmur is nothing more than an incidental occurrence with no medical significance. Heart murmurs are caused by uneven blood flow through the heart which emits a distinct noise that veterinarians can detect with a simple examination of the heartbeat and rhythm of the cat's heart. Further tests are sometimes needed and the most reliable way to diagnose a murmur is through ultrasound, but any irregularities in the heart usually point to this type of condition. The severity and the type of murmur can vary and are usually caused by different symptoms.

Types of Murmurs

A heart murmur can manifest itself through one of two ways; a physiological murmur can result from an acquired illness in the cat through anemia or a high grade fever, while a pathological murmur is borne from irregularities in the heart valves or chambers themselves. In some cases, these kinds of murmurs are an indicator of more serious illness, but often times murmurs are of no serious threat to the cat's well being. Doctors grade the severity of murmurs on a six point scale, with one being the most mild and six being very severe. These grades are not an indication of the cat's health but a basis for how loud the murmur sounds. A grade six murmur does not mean the cat is in danger nor does a grade one mean that the cat has a clean bill of health.

Signs of a Murmur

The signs of a possible heart murmur in your cat are shown through behavior and visual cues. If your cat is lethargic, has labored breathing, is generally weak or shows signs of changes in the color of the gums, tongue or the skin these may be the first indicators and a veterinarian should be consulted. Kittens may often display a murmur in their first check-ups but these will disappear as they grow older and are usually nothing to worry about.

Detection and Diagnosis

Most diagnoses of heart murmur do not require treatment but careful monitoring of the cat's behavior patterns and routine examinations every three to six months are recommended to assess any further medical signs or worsening of the murmur itself. If the cat is comfortable and is leading a normal life, then it's very likely the murmur is nothing more than a harmless noise with no underlying life-threatening conditions. It is crucial that any changes in the cat's behavior are addressed immediately and that a veterinarian runs the necessary tests to assess if your cat has a murmur. With any medical condition, early detection is important to keep your cat leading a healthy and happy life. Heart disease can become a dangerous enemy if gone unchecked and while a murmur may not be an indicator of heart disease, ignoring the problem may make it worse.