Cat Heart Murmur

Cat heart murmur is an abnormal sound that's detected during clinical diagnosis of the pet. The murmur develops when there's a change in the blood flow through the valves of the heart. Most cats suffer from heart murmur when the blood leaks out from the valve due to heart disease or damage to the valves. Cats may also exhibit heart murmur due to underlying factors such as anemia and bacterial infections. Along with older cats, kittens are often susceptible to heart murmur. Since genetic predisposition plays a role in heart disease, the vet will perform various diagnostic tests to determine the severity and type of heart condition present.

Severity of Feline Heart Murmurs

The presence of heart murmur doesn't necessarily mean that the cat is suffering from a severe heart condition. Often, severe heart disorders such as cardiomyopathy don't accompany symptoms like heart murmur. The vet will listen to the murmur to evaluate the grade present. Murmurs well audible are more severe in nature, and are therefore assigned a higher grade. Pet owners should also inform the vet if the cat exhibits accompanying symptoms.

Associated Symptoms Include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Lethargy and reduced playfulness
  • Pale gums associated with anemia
  • Cough

Diagnosis of Cat Heart Murmur

In order to diagnose the cause of cat heart murmur, the vet will evaluate the pet's medical history and clinical symptoms present. If the pet is generally healthy, the vet may perform a repeat heart evaluation after a few months. Pets that exhibit prolonged heart murmur are subject to a cardiac ultrasound. This procedure should be conducted by a trained veterinary cardiologist. It's important to be aware that pets aren't sedated during the ultrasound. The vet will look for abnormalities in the various chambers of the heart, surrounding arteries and valves. Other indicators of severe heart disease are galloping sounds detected through echocardiograms. If the heart murmur is exhibited by kittens, the vet will perform diagnostic tests to detect anemia. Additional tests to rule out hyperthyroidism are also necessary.

Treatment of Feline Heart Murmur

Kittens in particular might not require medical intervention, as the murmur often disappears by 4 to 6 months of age. If the symptom of heart murmur is accompanied by severe heart conditions, the vet will prescribe medication to control the underlying disease present. Pets genetically predisposed to heart conditions require daily exercise and dietary control. It's important to keep cats within the healthy weight range to avoid susceptibility to heart disease. A condition known as cardiomyopathy is one of the more severe heart disorders that warrant detailed diagnostic tests and medical treatment. Pets are administered ACE inhibitors and beta blockers to help the heart function normally. Pet owners should administer prescribed medications, if applicable, on time.

Pet owners should work with the vet to follow treatment options and preventive measures to help their cat live a healthy and happy life. In most cases, cats with heart murmur live long lives without medical complications. Other pets may require medication to keep severe heart conditions in check.