Cat Heart Murmur Symptoms

A cat heart murmur is an irregularity of the heart rhythm, caused by abnormal blood flow. If the heart is examined, there will be an unusual noise coming from it. These noises are typically graded from 1 to 4, 4 being the most severe. The symptoms accompanying the heart murmur should be warning signs that you need to visit the vet.

Causes of Heart Murmur

  • Cardiac abnormalities such as cardiomyopathy may cause heart murmur. However, there are heart conditions that will not cause heart murmur.
  • Anemia can lead to heart murmur. Anemia is signaled by depression and anorexia.
  • High fever can cause occasional heart murmur.
  • Hyperthyroidism or obesity can cause abnormal blood flux and heart murmur.
  • Heart murmur can occur in cats with a poor diet and an overall poor health.

Periodically, cats may have heart murmurs that have no clinical significance; the heart murmur is caused by increased blood flow to the heart, but will have no other consequences.

Symptoms of Heart Murmur

Kittens can be born with heart murmur, but the condition is more frequent in elderly cats with thyroid issues.

A heart murmur can only be felt by a vet when listening to your cat’s heart; the vet also needs an ultrasound and some blood tests to diagnose the condition.

However, a heart murmur is always accompanied by secondary symptoms such as lethargy, panting or abnormal respiratory rate. The cat may have difficulties in performing strenuous activities, and will get tired easily.

If you check your cat’s gums, they will be pale. Press the gums and release your finger. In a sick cat, the gums will regain color in more than 5 seconds. The tongue and the skin of a cat with heart murmur will be discolored.

Treating Heart Murmur

Heart murmur should be carefully monitored. The vet will determine the grade of the heart murmur. The grade may change during the cat’s life.

Typically, the vet will treat an underlying cardiac condition, if existent. There is no special treatment for heart murmur.

If your vet detects heart murmur, your cat should be reexamined in 3 months. The vet will perform an ultrasound and an ECG exam, to determine if there is a cardiac condition causing the murmur.

Kittens may experience heart murmur, but this should disappear by the time the kitten is 6 months old.

Cautions for Cats with Heart Murmur

If your cat has heart murmur and has to undergo a medical procedure, such as neutering, the vet needs to evaluate the cat to determine if anesthesia is recommended. Cats with a severe grade of murmur may have complications caused by anesthesia.

Cats with heart murmur can live a normal life, but need to be permanently monitored. Ensure that your cat gets periodical heart tests. Avoid stress, extreme temperatures and strenuous activities, and keep your cat indoors.

If your cat has a heart condition, you need to know how to recognize a heart attack to avoid sudden death.